The compromise was scuppered, and those 100,000 new homes that would have created jobs, wealth, and an opportunity for many more people to get on the housing ladder won’t now be built.
If you’re a staunch Labour supporter, beating the Tories at anything will be good news. But if you’re struggling to get on the housing ladder, work in the construction sector, live in one of the 74 affected council areas, or want to see more investment in protecting the environment, you should be furious. When faced with a sensible compromise to a complex problem, instead of seeing an opportunity to either support it or offer an alternative solution, Labour looked to score political points. Whatever your politics, it’s the wrong mindset; we need our politicians to devise solutions, not impede them. And while the government came up with a proposed solution, they are far from blameless here. It was obvious from Day 1 that Natural England’s stance would lead to an effective ban on new homes, so why has it taken them four years to devise a plan to deal with it? Such a glacial approach to fixing problems will not solve our housing crisis any time soon. Or any of the other crises we currently have, for that matter.
So, disappointing news, depending on your view. But another less well-reported development has seen the government take further action, which should be very welcome in greener quarters.