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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

PM Speech: IPPR reacts to planning and housing plans that ‘fall woefully short’ of what is needed

High Streets put at risk due to plans to reform planning laws, says IPPR

Jonathan Webb, IPPR Research Fellow, said:

The Prime Minister's announcements fall woefully short of what’s needed. It does seem deeply ironic that the £12 billion re-announced today, as part of speech billed as ‘build, build, build’, actually represents a cut in the support for the delivery of affordable homes with the funding now being spread over 8 years rather than 5 years.

“Loosening planning restrictions so that more commercial properties can be converted to residential homes puts the future delivery of affordable homes at risk and will accelerate the hollowing out of communities and the decline of the high street. A proper blueprint for town centres is needed.

“Amongst these proposals, there is not enough focus on ensuring that new homes are genuinely affordable. Too many people are being pushed into accommodation they simply cannot afford. At the sharp end of this crisis, we have seen an unacceptable rise in homelessness and rough sleeping.”

A new IPPR research report launched today revealed that coronavirus is intensifying housing affordability issues, with one in five now reporting fears about being able to afford rent or their mortgage in the future.

The report calls for major housing reforms including the introduction of an innovative ‘living rent’ based on income levels. IPPR also calls for £15 billion to be invested in building environmentally friendly social homes a year. This investment would fund the construction of 90,000 social rent and 30,000 living rent homes a year and generate up to £120 billion in additional economic activity, according to the think tank.



David Wastell, Head of News and Communications: 07921 403651 [email protected]

Robin Harvey, Digital and Media Officer: 07779 204798 [email protected]

IPPR Research Fellow Jonathan Webb and IPPR Associate Director Luke Murphy are available for interview


  • The IPPR paper, Renting Beyond their Means: The Role of Living Rent in addressing housing affordability by Jonathan Webb and Luke Murphy, is available for download at:
  • IPPR North's reaction to the speech which will discuss the policy implications for the north and will be posted online here: IPPR North's media office is contactable via [email protected]
  • IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is the UK's only national think tank with a truly national presence.