A government report has dealt a blow to housing plans in the South-east, recommending that 6,000 fewer homes a year should be built than previously proposed.

A report by government-appointed inspectors said that 32,000 homes a year ought to be built over the next two decades, equivalent to 640,000 by 2020.

This is 6,000 a year below the target of up to 38,000 a year set by the Government Office for the South East, which was in line with the recent housing green paper.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, criticised the figures.

He said: “Thirty-two-thousand new homes per year will not go anywhere near meeting the clear housing need. These woefully inadequate targets will mean more people than ever will be excluded from home ownership.”