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Cameron to call for building 'crusade' to beat housing backlog

Update: October, 07/2015 - 10:45

LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron will on Wednesday call for a building "crusade" in Britain, in a bid to address a housing shortage that has become a political hotcake.

Cameron will say that planning laws should be relaxed to allow for more building, to ease a shortage that has contributed to a property price boom.

"When a generation of hard-working men and women in their 20s and 30s are waking up each morning in their childhood bedrooms, that should be a wake-up call for us,"

Cameron was to tell the annual conference of his centre-right Conservative party, according to pre-released remarks.

"We need a national crusade to get homes built. That means banks lending, Government releasing land and – yes – planning being reformed."

The growth in house prices has outstripped salary rises, with properties rising by over 10 percent in a year in parts of England, according to the government's Land Registry House Price Index released last month.

The rises are most pronounced in the capital and the southeast of England.

Average house prices have hit just under £500,000 ($762,000, 676,000 euros) in London, compared to £185,000 across England and Wales, according to the index.

Cameron is to relax rules compelling property developers to build affordable homes, allowing them to build homes for purchase rather than only for rent as currently required.

In future, developers will be able to build properties for purchase under the government's Starter Homes Initiative, which gives first-time buyers a 20-percent discount on market rates.

This will help take young people "from generation rent to generation buy," Cameron will say.

His speech comes on the final day of his Conservative party's annual conference in the northwest English city of Manchester.

The run-up to the conference has been dominated by debate over the party's stance on an upcoming referendum on Britain's membership of the EU and behind-the- scenes positioning of potential successors to Cameron, who has said he will step

down as Conservative leader by 2020. — AFP

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