2: The (housing) numbers game

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It is widely reported that since the latter decades of the 20th century, there has been an annual shortfall in the number of new homes constructed relative to housing demand. The planning system has often been accused of being the primary cause of this shortage by governments of different political complexions. It is blamed for restricting housing supply and increasing house prices, and for acting as a drag on the free market delivering housing. Yet, it is not clear that planning is the root cause of these problems, and planning is rarely celebrated for its achievements in enabling the nation’s housing. We frame changes in planning policy that have occurred since 2010 in light of longer-term housing trends in England to ask whether state planning for housing has failed.

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