I enjoyed David Blackman's analysis of the government's response to the Barker Review (Regenerate, January, page 12).
But, I'm sure that like many who read it, I found the comparisons with Denis Healey's spell as chancellor in the 1970s confusing, especially the assertion that councils were then "building more than 100,000 homes each year … more than two-thirds of today's overall total".
My reading of the government's 50,000-home target is that it is a net target for an annual increase in housing stock after taking into account demolitions and properties abandoned as derelict. That represents a one-third increase in the current average annual stock increase of 150,000 to 200,000. That is not the same as the number of new homes we are "building", which David Blackman seems to suggest is 150,000 a year. Data for the year to April 2005 shows housing starts rose to close to 226,000 homes and completions in the same period were nearly 206,000, the highest figures for activity since the 1980s housing boom-bust.
David Birkbeck, chief executive, Design for Homes