Boris Johnson has promised to increase social housebuilding to 300,000 a year by the mid-2020s in a bid to tackle Britain's housing shortage. But at the rate of increase achieved before the coronavirus lockdown, the government will not reach its target until 2032 – eight years later than planned. Housing experts have warned that a slowdown caused by the pandemic is likely to push numbers even further off course.
"The government wasn't on track to meet its own targets even before the pandemic hit," said Polly Neate, chief executive of the charity Shelter. "Now with a potential slump in construction as a result of Covid, the chances of getting the homes we need built are looking even slimmer. With over a million households on the social housing waiting list, and many more facing economic turmoil and homelessness this year, we desperately need to get building. We can't go back to business as usual with missed targets and pitiful numbers of social homes."