Budget watchdog 'pours cold water on May's housing projections'

A report that the government's budget watchdog has said that a key part of Prime Minister Theresa May's plan to solve the housing crisis 'will result in only 1,500 additional homes being built each year' features in today's newspaper round-up.

The Times (subscription) reports that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) "predicts that the decision to allow councils to borrow extra money to build more social housing, which was the centrepiece of the prime minister’s party conference speech, will result in no more than 9,000 extra homes by 2024". The paper says that "the analysis is likely to anger the Prime Minister because it contradicts previous predictions that the policy will help the government to meet its target of 300,000 new homes a year".

The Manchester Evening News reports that "Greater Manchester’s long-term vision for new homes and businesses could be delayed yet again, after the government issued its latest guidance on how many houses the region needs". The paper says that "the conurbation’s spatial framework had already been put back four times before the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government sent out its latest update to local authorities on Friday". However, the article quotes a Greater Manchester Combined Authority spokesman saying that the body is still aiming to produce a draft plan "in the next couple of months".

The Guardian reports that "the property developer behind the conversion of central London’s Centre Point office skyscraper into multimillion-pound luxury apartments has given up trying to sell the flats after receiving too many ‘detached from reality’ lowball offers". The paper says that "Mike Hussey, chief executive of the developer Almacantar, said the company had decided to halt formal sales of the flats in the 1960s brutalist tower, now called Centre Point Residences, rather than slash prices".

Writing in The Times, Andrew Gwynne, the shadow communities and local government secretary, says that "austerity is far from over for hard-pressed local authorities". He writes: "Politics is always a question of priorities and this government has clearly got its priorities wrong. Since 2010 they’ve handed out £110 billion in tax giveaways to the richest people and corporations but the services that most people rely on have been cut to the bone."

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