Gove’s retreat into nimbyism spells political trouble for the Tories

joey gardiner proper size

The pre-Christmas consultation on reforms to national planning policy will lead councils to plan for fewer homes - and contributes to the sense that the government has all but given up on helping those not yet on the housing ladder, writes Joey Gardiner

Former Labour leader Michael Foot’s 1983 election manifesto was memorably described by Gerald Kaufman MP as the longest suicide note in history – despite being a relatively lightweight 39 pages. The current government’s consultation on reform of national planning policy, published in the dying days of 2022, is nearly three times as long. But one could argue the thrust of its 97 pages are no less harmful to the Tory Party’s long term electoral interests than Foot’s policy programme was to Labour’s.

How so? Because this consultation, on a re-write of the so-called National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), appears to represent this administration’s decision to finally give up on the idea of building enough homes so that those currently not on the housing ladder can hope they ever will be. It’s the latest piece of evidence that we have a government which, despite its continued propounding of a 300,000 homes-a-year housebuilding target it now knows it won’t meet, is actually making residential development harder, not easier.

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