Addressing the housing crisis head on, this paper exposes the truths of the supply-side problems we face, and proposes sensible liberal solutions, which would free up land for at least 1.5 million new homes, while increasing protections for the environment.
The paper underlines the severity of the crisis, emphasising the nationwide shortage of affordable housing, and the way in which both rents and asking prices are highest where the demand is greatest: in and around our great cities, and particularly in London and the South East. It explores the origins and development of the Green Belt, and reveals how it has more than doubled in size since the late 1970s, worsening its distorting effects on the housing market. It is emphasised that Green Belt does not, as most people might reasonably assume, correlate with ‘green’ or ‘environmentally protected’ land, and that much of it is far from being a valuable natural habitat. The costs of its impact, and the impact of other regulatory distortions—regarding the increased cost of living, other direct and indirect costs to individuals, curbed labour mobility, reduced quality of life, and environmental costs—are detailed and explained in depth.