London 'risks becoming hell of San Francisco without action on housebuilding'

A claim that London needs to "encourage, and allow, more homebuilding" or risk becoming "the hell that San Francisco has become" features in today's newspaper round-up.

Writing in The Times (subscription), Emma Duncan, social policy editor of The Economist, says that a lack of affordable homes has helped make the US city of San Francisco the "most visibly poor place of any I have been to outside India or South Africa, and the horrors on show hold lessons for London." She writes: "London is, obviously, far from being the hell that San Francisco has become. But the number of homeless is rising, our refusal to allow development around the capital has pushed prices to unaffordable levels and the rent controls that Labour advocates as a solution will only make the problem worse. We need to encourage, and allow, more homebuilding."

A leader column in The Times, published in the wake of a special report it ran yesterday which said that young people are "facing the end of the sitting room, with nine out of ten house shares in some areas being offered without communal living space," says that "councils bear much of the responsibility for allowing this situation to escalate and must act to resolve it."

The Times reports that "a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars could be brought forward by five years to accelerate the take-up of electric vehicles, according to the transport secretary." The paper says that "Grant Shapps said that the government’s target to ensure all new cars are zero-emission models by 2040 may be shifted to 2035 under new plans."

The Times also reports that "no more fracking is expected to take place in Britain this year after Cuadrilla Resources said that it was removing equipment at the UK’s only active site." The paper says that the "shale gas explorer halted fracking at Preston New Road near Blackpool in Lancashire in late August after triggering a 2.9-magnitude earthquake. The Oil & Gas Authority is still investigating the incident, which was felt widely in the area and which residents claim caused damage to property."

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