Your leader (29 June, page 3) called for a national hearts-and-minds campaign to explain the need for extra housing. It might help if you first questioned whether there really is such a need.
In Ireland last year, there were 90,000 housing starts in a country with a population of 4.5 million. The equivalent rate in the UK would be about 1 million new homes a year, compared with the actual number of 180,000 for a population of 60 million.
This is not a flash in the pan: the rate of housebuilding in Ireland has been way higher than the UK for 15 years. Has this solved its affordability problems? Not a bit. The average house price in Ireland has trebled in the past seven years, outstripping the UK.
The housebuilding boom in Ireland is being fuelled by investment buyers and inward migration. Just as if you build more roads, they fill up with cars, so it seems if you build more houses they fill up with people.
In a world with porous borders and a population that can move around at the drop of a hat, an increase in the supply of new houses in one area will simply make it a more attractive place to live and work and result in inward migration. Consequently, it will have no effect at all on house prices.
In Milton Keynes, they have been building for 40 years and haven’t stopped yet. Has that made it a cheap place to live? I don't think so. Mark Brinkle, author of Housebuilders Bible