The housing shortage is great, and construction is slowing down. Minister Hugo de Jonge (Public Housing) wants to add 900,000 houses before 2030. It already seems that these plans cannot be realised. So go for it, says the Chamber.
The House summoned the minister. Henk Nijboer (PvdA) is ‘very concerned about whether the cabinet is taking enough measures to achieve the ambitions’. According to Nijboer, Minister de Jonge has ‘good priorities’, but more needs to be done. According to Faissal Boulakjar (D66), the minister must ‘get started now’. “It can’t wait.” CDA MP Jaco Geurts stands up for fellow party member De Jonge. He thinks it is unfair that the debate has been given the name ‘Not realizing the housing ambitions’, and has ‘only respect’.
The minister also thinks it is important to hold the debate because ‘the task of housing construction has become much greater in recent times, but the enormous headwind has also increased’. “The housing shortage is a problem that we could have solved ten years ago, but the second best moment is now.”
Also listen to our podcast Politics Close, and subscribe via Spotify or Apple:
Things are going smoothly in the construction sector for several reasons. In November, the Council of State threw the construction exemption for nitrogen emissions into the trash. As a result, building permits are at least delayed, at worst they are no longer granted at all. Due to staff shortages at municipalities, the procedures also take a very long time; According to Statistics Netherlands, permits will be issued for more than 63,000 new homes to be built in 2022, which was 16 percent less than in 2021.
In addition, there are too few people to build the houses and there is a glaring shortage of building materials throughout Europe. They are also becoming more and more expensive due to the war in Ukraine. This increases the costs, also for the buyer, and that scares off. Expensive projects are canceled precisely now that the housing shortage is so high. Also, ‘affordable’ projects, which should comprise 30 percent of the total homes in De Jonge’s plans, suddenly become not so affordable after all. This is partly because interest rates have risen much faster than house prices have fallen.
ChristenUnie MP Pieter Grinwis calls nitrogen ‘the smallest problem in the new-build crisis’, to indicate how complicated it has become. GroenLinks and Party for the Animals, but also D66, stumble over this. De Jonge himself does see nitrogen as an obstacle, but according to him the high interest rate is the biggest problem. Laura Bromet (GroenLinks) thinks that the minister is ‘too light’ about it. “His entire agenda will come to a halt if the nitrogen problem is not solved.”
Build, build, build
Almost all parties agree on one thing: more needs to be built, and quickly. How, that is the question. For example, D66 has come up with an eight-point plan, which should mainly help students and starters to find a place. ‘The 1000 football fields of empty office spaces’, for example, must be better utilized, more cheap houses must be built, and student housing must again become a priority for the minister.
According to the VVD, more should be built on the outskirts of or outside the cities. Minister De Jonge emphasizes this. ‘An extra street’ in villages is important, according to him, ‘so that people can stay in the villages if they want to’. He adds that this is no holy grail. “There are also high investments in infrastructure involved.”
What De Jonge is enthusiastic about are ‘prefab’ houses that can be made almost entirely from a factory. They can be erected ‘in no time’, and it therefore takes much less time on a construction site to build such a house. “That is really the future,” said the minister.
Watch all our videos about politics here:
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and don’t miss a thing of the stars.