Nick Boles: ‘It’s up to me to provide the land to build the houses the next generation so desperately needs’

Grantham MP and Planning Minister Nick Boles says we must develop on more land.
Grantham MP and Planning Minister Nick Boles says we must develop on more land.
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MP for Grantham and Planning Minister Nick Boles has given a speech in which says there is no choice but to “build on previously undeveloped land”.

Mr Boles gave the speech to the conservative think tank the Policy Exchange this morning and argued that there is “no painless way to make homes affordable for working people earning ordinary wages”.

Mr Bole evoked Margaret Thatcher in one particularly impassioned section. He said: “We can decide to ignore the misery of young families forced to grow up in tiny flats with no outside space. We can pass by on the other side while working men and women in their twenties and thirties have to live with their parents or share bedrooms with friends.

“We can turn a blind eye while Margaret Thatcher’s dream of a property-owning democracy shrivels. And shrug our shoulders as home ownership reverts to what it was in the 19th Century: a privilege, the exclusive preserve of people with large incomes or wealthy parents.

“But I don’t believe that anyone really wants to go down this road. Certainly not any Conservative. If we believe in anything, we believe in the power of home ownership to motivate people to work hard, raise strong families and build healthy communities, to put down roots, take responsibility for their surroundings and look out for their neighbours.

“As David Cameron said, “We get behind people who want to get on in life, the young people who dream of their first pay-cheque, their first car, their first home – and are ready and willing to work hard to get those things”.

“There is only one choice for a Conservative. To accept that we are going to have to build on previously undeveloped land.”

Mr Boles said he struggles to sleep at night at the thought of solving a housing crisis caused by “the failure of past governments to provide enough land for development”.

He added: “It is my job to persuade local authorities to make more land available so that more homes can be built and the price of new homes comes down – and thereby reverse the trend that has been heading in the wrong direction for decades.”

Mr Boles quoted figures which suggest around 270,000 new homes must be built each year, arguing that brownfield sites could not fill the quota.

Mr Boles said that “contrary to the media myth, we’ve got plenty of undeveloped land to spare”.

He added: “It’s now up to me to make sure that our reformed planning system provides enough land to build the houses that England’s next generation so desperately needs.”