In 2017 the Conservative Government had a manifesto pledge to deliver 1 million homes by the end of 2020.
The same Government in 2019 offered another manifesto pledge to "continue to increase the number of homes being built", this time "continue progress towards our target of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s".
And yet, as we approach the middle of 2022, the government have all but dropped the pledge.
The number, always previously touted around, is no longer mentioned. The Housing Secretary also offered that to maintain such a target is "making an enemy of the common good".
Actually, the figure has never been reached. Only 216,000 homes were delivered in 2020-21.
And it's not being unnoticed. A huge 81% of Britons think housing is an issue in the UK at the moment, whilst 60% of Britons think that government policy has had a direct negative impact on housing in the UK (YouGov).
In terms of how money put aside for housing should be spent, affordable housing is the most supported policy at the moment. 69% of people are in support, with only 15% opposing. There also seems to be a growing call for more social housing.
The 2017 manifesto promised a Social Housing Green paper, which reignited interest in social housing. This stemmed from both the market massively outgrowing low-income households (leaving the government with no choice but to support) and also the Grenfell fire tragedy, which urgently highlighted the need for better-regulated social housing.
Social housing reached its peak in 1979 when it accounted for 31% of all households in England. In 2016-17, just 17% of all households were in social housing - a record low.
New housing has increasingly become an essential manifesto pledge, especially so when more people (not just the low-income) are feeling the pinch of a number of issues. In fact, many issues point to the need for new housing, namely population growth, affordability pressures and unsuitable living accommodation.
This is not to say that new houses aren’t being built. In fact, 243,770 homes were delivered in 2019/20 alone, which is the highest number of homes built in a year since 1987. This was also the seventh year in a row to see an increase.
However, in the decade to 2020, the population grew by 4.3 million. At that rate, 430,000 homes would have to be built every year just to keep up with the growing population.
Despite not keeping up with their promises, it seems as though the government are pushing forward with trying to keep up with demand. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Governments received £10bn of funding in the 2021/22 financial year.
They also announced £20bn of investment in housing, including £7.1bn for the National Home Building Fund, which claims this will provide for 860,000 new homes.
It remains to be seen what will be mentioned about housing in the next manifesto, particularly whether that pledge for 300,000 new houses will be upheld.