Look at long term impact of Covid before ramping up housing

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas. Picture: Andrew Achilleos

Jon Cruddas wants a hold put on the government's housing quota - Credit: Andrew Achilleos

In this column in October I wrote about the implications for Havering of the government’s planning proposals. Plans that shut out local people and the council from making decisions on new housing schemes.

The government has decided in addition to this to revisit the targets for where new homes should be built in England. Because Tory backbench MPs from the leafy shires put pressure on their government their numbers were cut.

The direct result is that Havering and the rest of London face a 35 per cent increase in the number of new homes to be built here. To put that in perspective, the earlier target was 1,170 homes to be built each year, it is now expected the figure will be almost 1,600.

I have consistently said that as a nation we need 300,000 new homes per annum with at least 100,000 of these being council rented homes. I know that from the desperate local families who contact me and from organisations such as Shelter and Crisis.

But rather than ramp up the number of new homes for London and other cities, surely the sensible thing would be for this government to pause to consider the long term impact of Covid. There are signs that point to a future where more people will work from home. For cities this may mean many more will decide to live much further out, beyond the suburbs. If this is the shape of things to come why on earth ramp up numbers of new build homes in Havering and the cities?

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So I will be adding my voice in Parliament and with many in the local community for the government to rethink its disastrous planning policies and admit that this is yet another to add to the long list of things they have got wrong,

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