Barclays heavily criticised the government’s recently released Housing White Paper for a lack of substance, comparing it to the pseudoscience of homeopathy in the process.
In the bank’s latest UK Housing Chartbook — a 250-page epic exploring every facet of British property and what makes it tick — analysts aim both barrels at the Conservative government’s paper, which ministers claim sets out a vision to fix Britain’s “broken housing market.”
“The housing shortage isn’t a looming crisis, a distant threat that will become a problem if we fail to act. We’re already living in it. Our population could stop growing and net migration could fall to zero, but people would still be living in overcrowded, unaffordable accommodation. Infrastructure would still be overstretched. This problem is not going to go away by itself,” the government’s report said when it was released on February 7.
However, that rhetoric did not extend to the contents of the report, Barclays argues, essentially saying that there is no real “substance” in any of the proposals put forward.
Here’s what Barclays’ Jon Bell had to say about the paper (emphasis ours):
“The long-awaited Housing White Paper (‘Fixing our broken housing market’) was published last week. So watered down were its contents, readers could be forgiven for thinking it had been issued by the Ministry of Homeopathy. It is quite difficult to highlight anything of any substance in its 105 pages (there were some changes to the planning system and no changes to the green belt rules).”
The report itself proposed four areas where the UK’s housing sector can be improved, which essentially boil down to building more homes in the “right places,” building them faster, diversifying who builds the homes, and helping out renters and prospective homeowners in the near term (you can see Business Insider’s full breakdown of the paper here.)
Bell is not the first person to attack the government’s plans — with Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey saying on the day of the report’s release: “Really, is that it?” — but the fact a major bank like Barclays has so openly and aggressively questioned the paper is notable.