The government has been accused of prolonging the national housing crisis by failing to sell enough land for affordable and social housing.
The Public Accounts Committee said the UK would miss its 2020 target of public land sales “by a wide margin”. It said the government “has wasted a once-in-a-generation opportunity to alleviate the nation’s housing crisis”.
The government said it had delivered 222,000 new homes last year, more than “in all but one of the last 31 years”.
“Government departments have identified enough surplus public sector land for 160,000 new homes and our development accelerator Homes England is providing expert assistance to get these built more quickly,” the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government added.
The Public Accounts Committee calculated the government’s land sale failure would result in 91,000 fewer homes in 2020 than anticipated, equivalent to 57% of its overall target.
“The UK needs more houses. As a major land holder, the government is in a unique position to release land for new homes; and yet the objectives of its land disposal programmes are chaotic and confused,” said committee chair Meg Hillier.