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Sweeties from the Political Parties?

In the run-up to the General Election on 12th December 2019, we are being offered incentives by the political parties that are wonderful at first glance but are want to raise eyebrows on further scrutiny.

I won't get into 'Free Broadband for All' but couldn't let the manifesto pledge of 100,000 social/affordable homes pass by without comment.

Housebuilder News reported on 21st November:

Labour plans to build 100,000 council homes a year by the end of 2024 according to its election manifesto published today.
It will also build “at least” 50,000 additional genuinely affordable homes a year through housing associations by the end of the parliament
The party says the homes will be built to cutting edge design and green standards citing the Stirling Prize award-winning Goldsmith Street council development in Norwich as an example of what Labour’s modern council housing could look like.

The Goldsmith Street scheme in Norwich has been built to PassiveHaus standards and comprises a 1.2ha/2.96 acre site with 93 dwellings (45 houses and 48 apartments). The total cost of this scheme has been quoted as £17.3 million pounds and it is suggested by RIBA that PassiveHaus adds 10-15% to build costs. They further report that build-costs equate to £1,875 / sq m.

If you relate these build costs to the pledged 100,000 homes and if you assume similar specifications and sizes to the Goldsmith Street scheme then the cost of building these homes would be £18,562,50,000 - or eighteen billion five hundred sixty-two million five hundred thousand pounds. There is no land cost added to this which in the case of the Norwich development I'd guess at £50,000 per plot which adds £465,000 to the overall costs. There is no allowance for finance costs.
Where is the £18.5 billion going to come from each year up to 2024?
Where is the land to build these homes on going to come from and how will it be purchased?
What's going to happen to the usual planning conditions such as archaeological investigation and contamination? Recent land transactions we are aware of have seen archaeology costs spiral from £10,000 to £90,000!
Looking at this from another angle how will the UK building industry manage to actually build an additional 100,000 homes each year? That's 8,333 each and every month.
Knight Frank's Residential Research department produce a Housebuilding Report and the most recent for 2018 is available at
The report details the UK housebuilding industry's forecast for the year and the underlying trends. After reading it and factoring in modern construction methods using off-site build I'm still dubious that the industry can actually build an additional 100,000 homes.


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