The true scale of Bri­tain’s hous­ing cri­sis

The Sunday Telegraph - - Letters To The Editor -

SIR – Liam Hal­li­gan (Busi­ness, Novem­ber 11) is clearly right that the Govern­ment needs to get a grip on the hous­ing cri­sis.

While he high­lights the 300,000 houses com­pleted each year in the late Six­ties, that was after sev­eral years of progress when Harold Macmil­lan was hous­ing min­is­ter.

We are now start­ing from a much lower base­line, and with a pop­u­la­tion of 67 mil­lion, in con­trast to the ap­prox­i­mately 55 mil­lion who lived here in 1967. John Bir­kett

St An­drews, Fife

SIR – As Liam Hal­li­gan points out, the Prime Min­is­ter has said that solv­ing the hous­ing cri­sis is the big­gest do­mes­tic pol­icy chal­lenge of our gen­er­a­tion.

Yet the Govern­ment per­sists with HS2, which will in­volve the de­mo­li­tion of over 400 houses in Lon­don alone, and count­less hun­dreds else­where.

Sep­a­rately you re­ported (Novem­ber 4) that the Trans­port Sec­re­tary has ad­mit­ted that the sec­ond phase of HS2 may never be built. This would be a step in the right di­rec­tion and would save some hous­ing. How­ever, the chair­man of the com­pany re­spon­si­ble for build­ing HS2 says that with­out the North­ern sec­tion there isn’t a busi­ness case for the line at all.

The House of Lords Select Com­mit­tee found in 2015 that HS2 lacks a busi­ness case that jus­ti­fies the cost, now ex­pected to be over£50 bil­lion. More re­cently a sur­vey has found that 85 per cent of the pub­lic con­sid­ers it to be a waste of money. It is time to scrap HS2 com­pletely, re­turn­ing the com­pul­so­rily pur­chased hous­ing to the orig­i­nal own­ers be­fore any track is laid, and save the money for more worth­while causes. RV Tate


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