May's £2bn housing injection 'is chicken feed'

A claim that Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement yesterday that the government is to increase its affordable homes budget by £2 billion is 'chicken feed' features in today's newspaper round-up.

The Guardian quotes Michael Oxley, director of the Cambridge Centre for housing and planning research saying the £2 billion is "chicken feed". "It would have to be an awful lot more than £2 billion for there to be a lot more council housing built", he says.

The Financial Times (subscription required) says that May "told the Conservative conference that move that would fund the building of 25,000 properties over five years". But it says that Neal Hudson, analyst at Residential Analysts, said May’s announcement was "underwhelming" and would "not solve the housing crisis any time soon". The Financial Times adds that Polly Neate, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, welcomed the new money but urged the government to "raise its game".

The Times (subscription required) reports that the Prime Minister’s other housing announcements announcement "did not go as far as many had hoped". It says she "failed to reveal plans, expected by some, to allow councils to compulsorily purchase greenfield land at agricultural market rates to unlock development". However, the newspaper says that David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, welcomed May’s announcements, which he described as "a bold break with the past".

Writing in the Times, Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, says that the speech "included encouraging signs that the government has heard our argument that councils must be part of the solution to our chronic housing shortage and able to resume their historic role as a major builder of affordable homes".

Guardian columnist Dawn Foster says that the "£2 billion injection will build only 5,000 homes a year, the party admitted, and pales in comparison with the £3.75 billion Labour spent on affordable homes in its last year of government".

Telegraph columnist Allister Heath says that May’s announcements amounted to "wet, statist Tory thinking". On housing, he says that "if you really believe that council homes are the answer to the greatest crisis this country faces, then spend an extra £50 billion a year, not a trivial £2 billion".

A leader column in the Telegraph says that it is "not clear" how the £2 billion will help ease the housing crisis. "The big issue remains the availability of land for building more homes where they are needed", it says.

Away from the Prime Minister’s speech, the Telegraph reports that onshore wind power projects "could make a return to the hard-fought competition for subsidies as Conservative energy ministers warm to turbines following sharp falls in offshore wind costs".

An article in the Times says that the government’s "top pollution adviser" has said that "all cars, including those run on electricity, will have to be banned or deterred by high entry charges on many roads to meet the mayor of London’s new air quality target". The newspaper says that "Frank Kelly said that large parts of central London should be pedestrianised or placed off limits to private cars during the day to reduce the tiny toxic particles produced by brakes and tyres".

The Guardian reports that new figures have revealed that "every person in the capital is breathing air that exceeds global guidelines for one of the most dangerous toxic particles". The newspaper says that the research, "based on the latest updated London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, shows that every area in the capital exceeds World Health Organisation (WHO) limits for a damaging type of particle known as PM2.5."

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