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Things to come

Kate Barker's scenarios for the future rest on a series of banalities that scarcely required her intellect to produce.

Increase site supply.You don't say! Get planners to take demand into account when preparing their policies. Genius level stuff. Let local authorities use council tax income to build more homes. What a brainwave! And how about this: 'The house-building industry needs to focus on its customers and deliver a better quality of service.'Tell me another. The thing that interested Astragal was the statement that an increase in supply of social housing of 17,000 homes each year, 23,000 if you want to take care of the backlog, is now required. 'These scenarios imply additional investment, building up to £1.2/£1.6 billion respectively, not all of which should necessarily come from government.' Hang on to your hats, folks: we are talking about PFI council housing. Now that really is a big idea, but gets scant coverage in the report. One advantage would be to involve people other than house builders. But what will George Ferguson and the RIBA have to say about an extension of their least favoured form of procurement? Perhaps we will find out in George's formal inaugural speech next month.

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