Home truths

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For a Conservative Government that unabashedly encourages the aspiration to home ownership, the problem of how to get those homes built has become acute. It is partly a political problem – the connection between ownership and voting Tory is a direct one, and owner numbers are falling. But it is also a moral issue – is it right to tell hard-working young people that, try as they might, for as long as they might, there is no prospect of their being able to buy their own place to live?

It has been predicted that the average London home will cost almost £650,000 by the end of the decadeIt has been predicted that the average London home will cost almost £650,000 by the end of the decade Photo: 2013 Getty Images

This is an issue largely confined to London and the South East. But as the capital, its population and economic pull grow inexorably, it remains significant. On Monday the Government set out what it called game-changing initiatives: directly commissioning 13,000 new homes, 40 per cent of which are “starter homes”, and setting up a fund to prepare “brownfield” sites for building on.

"Brownfield development, while more expensive than greenfield, could allow the transformation of a host of urban sites – if only local authorities, would release them"