Baby boomers who paid off their mortgages should not try block the construction of new homes for the younger generation Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has said.
The Bromsgrove Conservative MP said the shortage of affordable homes for young people is creating a ‘rootless generation’ who drift between rented properties.
He said: “They don’t want the world handed to them on a plate. They want simple fairness, moral justice, the opportunity to play by the same rules enjoyed by those who came before them.
“Without affordable, secure, safe housing we risk creating a rootless generation, drifting from one short-term tenancy to the next, never staying long enough to play a role in their community.”
And he said he rejected the resistance to new development which came mostly from “baby boomers who have long since paid off their own mortgage” who claim that housing problems were caused by an “over-entitled” Millennial generation spending their cash on “nights out and smashed avocados” rather than saving for a home.
He added that housing targets could be achieved without “ruining vast tracts of beautiful countryside” by concreting over fields.
Last year he sparked outrage in Sutton Coldfield when he backed the city council’s plan to release green belt land for the development of 6,000 homes at Langley.
There was strong local resistance and the town’s Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell hit out at Mr Javid for backing the ‘wholly unneccessary plans’.
Mr Javid was speaking as official Government figures showed that 217,350 new homes were added to the English housing stock in 2016/17 - 27,700 up on the previous year and the highest since the financial crash of 2007/08.
The housing charity Shelter, which estimates that 250,000 new homes are needed each year to tackle the crisis, said the numbers fall “woefully short” of what was required and pointed out that not even a fifth of the new properties are affordable.
The figures came as the Government announced that housing association debt was being taken off the balance sheet, in an accounting change Mr Javid believes will give a stable investment environment to fund new homes.
The Home Builders Federation said the new figures showed the industry was well on track to “smash” the target of building a million new homes.
Executive chairman Stewart Baseley said: “The housing crisis built up over several decades and will take many years to fix.
Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, said: “The numbers are still well short of the Government’s own targets and we should be crystal clear that not even a fifth of these are affordable.
“With hundreds of thousands of people homeless this Christmas and those in need of affordable homes going up all the time, owing to a crippling combination of soaring rents and welfare cuts, these numbers fall woefully short.
“If the Government is serious about tackling our housing crisis and helping the millions of families on lower incomes in the upcoming Budget then sticking plasters will not be enough - it must urgently prioritise building homes which are genuinely affordable for ordinary people to rent or buy.”
There have also been calls for the Chancellor, in next week’s budget, to lift borrowing limits on councils to allow them to build more homes.