As Alex Morton has argued in Cities for Growth, a paper for the think tank Policy Exchange – the problem with the UK housing market is not, as many policymakers seem to imagine, a lack of credit, but a lack of supply. Nor is there any absence of land on which to build. The constraint instead lies with lack of land with planning permission in the areas of the country where people want to live .
I’m not arguing for a Texan-style free-for-all. This would be inappropriate for such a densely populated island. But it seems bizarre that a country that so unashamedly celebrates consumerism in all its various guises, should deny its citizens, by virtue of an outdated, Soviet-style planning system, the one thing that would make a significant difference to quality of life – a ready supply of spacious, affordable housing.
Except, well, what is wrong with a Texan style free for all?