A new report by the U.K.'s Home Builders Federation (HBF) shows planning permissions have halved over the last four years, as the total number granted last year were lowest since the survey began in 2006.
Their Housing Pipeline report shows just 115,000 planning permissions were granted last year which is half the level granted in 2006, and just half the number needed. During the fourth quarter of last year 27,732 units received approval, which is 6% less than the third quarter. Social housing has been particularly hard hit as just 16,334 social housing units were approved last year which is 47% less than 2010, and 52% less than 2006.
The HBF has pointed out these figures should be a huge wake-up call, and is asking the government to stand firm and to give the country a planning system which encourages growth.
Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF said "This is stark reminder as to why the government must stand firm and deliver a robust and adequate planning system. Continuing the current record low level of house building is storing up huge social and economic problems for the years ahead, and the shortfall must be addressed."
Once planning permission is granted it can take several years for the new homes to be built. There are now fewer new homes being built than in the 1920s and the effects on social housing are especially evident. Around 5 million people are currently on council waiting lists for homes while millions more are housed in substandard accommodation.
It's been estimated that another 140,000 new homes are needed every year to meet current demand, and the HBF thinks this could create another 500,000 jobs, helping to boost the local and national economy. Cutting down the social housing waiting lists could also help first-time buyers get a foot on the housing ladder, and would help get the housing market moving again.