Gordon Brown wants to build 40,000 more homes a year and today he revealed how he intends to hit the target

If legislation can solve a problem, housebuilders will be living in Nirvana in a few years time. Gordon Brown’s legislative programme, announced this lunchtime, contains not one, but three housing and planning bills. This list includes the planning gain supplement bill, currently grinding its way through Parliament which looks dead in the water after today’s statement by Brown.

But it includes a housing and regeneration bill and a planning reform bill. All of this legislative activity is designed to help the new primeminister hit his new target, also announced today, of 240,000 new homes per annum in England and Wales. This is a 20% increase on the existing target of 200,000, which hasn’t even been reached yet. According to today’s statement, that works out at a quarter of a million extra homes by 2020.

To meet this challenging target, Brown is proposing to hand over more public sector land to developers. The government is examining sites that could accommodate 100,000 new homes.

Brown says he wants to make housing a national priority, in the way that it was after World War II. He has the small problem that the stockmarket is getting jittery about the housebuilding sector following a less than glowing set of results from Bovis earlier this week. And he will have to face down the local authorities which are often the roadblock to housing delivery. As well as new laws, Brown will have to win over hearts and minds as well.