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In news that will surprise absolutely no one, the Government appears to have backtracked further on its planning reforms. Yesterday, Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said that he would be looking at how “housing need” is calculated, and suggested that some of the assumptions behind the numbers “are probably out of date.”

This has been taken as yet another sign of the Conservatives trying to distance themselves from their original plans for building homes. Only last month Boris Johnson tried to reassure voters at the Conservative Party Conference that “beautiful” ones should only be built “on brownfield sites in places where homes make sense”, in a pledge that will in no way help England meet its housing targets. It was a far cry from a Prime Minister who promised, in his first speech outside Downing Street, that the Tories would give “millions of young people the chance to own their own homes”.

As many know, the Tories are spooked by the Chesham & Amersham by-election result, where Liberal Democrats played on fears about planning reforms in order to win votes. The outcome has been seen as evidence that Conservatives have gone too far in upsetting the Blue Wall, hence they are now trying to make all the right noises about “beautiful” homes and protecting land around the UK. In addition to that, the party will struggle to get any decent reforms past its backbenchers, many of whom appear more upset about the green belt than millions of people needing homes.

Speaking of housing need, Gove warned that “We want to be in a position where people accept and welcome new development.” But the idea that homeowners at large (and backbenchers) will accept, let alone welcome, new developments, to the degree that the country needs them, is something of a pipe dream.

It goes without saying that there’s no easy answer to fixing the crisis – indeed, many articles on this site are devoted to the subject – albeit it is mainly an issue of supply. Yet, as a millennial watching on, the Government’s strategy at the moment seems to be hoping the problem will magically go away, buying time by debating the intricacies of reforms. In the meantime, it has thrown renters a bone by way of a 95 per cent mortgage scheme, an idea that will merely increase demand for homes.

To make any headway, the Government should apply the same energy it has towards achieving Net Zero on Getting Housing Done. It’s interesting that in going green, it has no qualms about upsetting the electorate – from talk of people having to replace their gas boilers, to the Climate Change Committee’s recommendations that the public give up meat. “This is an emergency”, it will say around its eco policies. Yet housing is not so far away – and also affecting many young people’s futures.

Though the Government is concerned about Chesham & Amersham – and the rest of the Blue Wall – its current approach risks another type of electoral disaster, as has been pointed out on several occasions, as those in their 30s and 40s remain infantilised by economic conditions. But Getting Housing Done is not merely a matter of political advances; it’s about a moral duty towards generations, whose hopes and dreams are being sacrificed to keep home-owning England happy. For renters, the Conservative vision cannot continue to be Build Back Nothing.