Speaking at the Royal Town Planning Institute conference on Monday, Theresa May called for a “great national effort” to address the housing crisis.
The Prime Minister answered questions after her speech and said that there should be more effort to use disused retail buildings and convert them into homes.
“Retailing is changing, with buying more goods online, and one of the elements of the new planning rules we’re setting out is to make it easier for shops to be turned into housing if that’s appropriate, but also for development above retail units to take place,” she said.
“Often there’s a very good argument for having homes being built in the centre of town, accessible to shops, accessible to transport infrastructure as well. And greater extension upwards can be, I think, one of the solutions for ensuring we’re building enough homes.”
The Labour party said that the Prime Minister had proposed only “feeble” measures to address the housing crisis.
Her key measures include ensuring that ten percent of homes on major sites should be available for affordable homeownership and ensure protection for ancient woodland.
May acknowledged how young people have a “right to be angry” if they are not able to buy a home, without “the bank of mum and dad”.
“Talking to voters during last year’s election campaign, it was clear that many people, particularly younger people, are angry about this,” she said.
“Angry that, regardless of how hard they work, they won’t be able to buy a place of their own. Angry when they’re forced to hand more and more of their wages to a landlord to whom their home is simply a business asset.”
The prime minister has also spoken of the problems of homelessness that the UK faces, calling it a “source of national shame”.
Efforts are being made to half rough sleeping, with £1 billion being spent on the issue.