Cover 9781785906503

The UK’s chronic housing shortage is lowering the quality of life for millions, turning the British dream of home ownership into a cruel nightmare – not least for ‘generation rent’. Countless vulnerable families are meanwhile being deprived of access to decent social housing, causing homelessness to spiral.

In this searing polemic, Liam Halligan offers radical solutions to the most urgent political issue of our times. Fully updated, with a foreword from former Chancellor Sajid Javid and drawing on extensive interviews with Cabinet ministers, civil servants, leading developers and struggling homebuyers across the country, Home Truths is a no-holds-barred critique of the UK’s housing crisis.


“Liam Halligan is a one-off – a card-carrying economist, with high-level political access, who can explain complex issues in readable, vivid prose. Home Truths nails the how and why of fixing Britain’s broken housing market – the most pressing domestic issue of our time. A must-read across Westminster, Whitehall and beyond.”

Andrew Neil

“Many people claim to speak truth to power but very few actually do. Liam Halligan is one of the few – a great and fearless truth-teller. Here he takes on that prime driver of inequality in the UK – our warped and unfair housing market. Property monopolists and their tame political allies should be afraid, very afraid, of this book.”

Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

“A country where young people cannot hope to save enough to buy their own home is a country facing a social and economic catastrophe. Successive British governments have not just allowed this to happen but have made matters worse – and we need to fix it. Liam Halligan is one of the UK’s most thoughtful economic journalists. In his characteristically robust, clear-minded and sensible way, he shows how this can be done.”

Hamish McRae, The Independent

“Forcefully written and incisive, as we expect from Liam Halligan. The housing situation in Britain is a national disgrace – supporters of every political party should read Home Truths.”

Professor Lord Layard, London School of Economics

Home Truths is a tour de force, exposing the failures of public policy in housing by successive governments.”

Lord (John) Shipley, Lib Dem housing spokesperson

“Liam Halligan is an economist with enviable access to Britain’s top policymakers. He has a rare ability to combine forensic skill with sharp political analysis, turning­­­­­­­­­ complex policy subjects into a good read. A famine in decent homes has created a social time bomb, with a generation of young adults robbed of the opportunity to acquire a home of their own.”

Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun

“This is an important book. Fearlessly, it goes right to the maw of some of the factors which explain our housing crisis. Liam Halligan is that rare beast, a writer who can clearly explain complex problems without over-simplifying them. Anyone interested in public policy, or indeed in the state of modern Britain, should read Home Truths.”

Nicholas Boys Smith, co-chair, Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission

“Liam Halligan shows – and shows brilliantly – how the vested interests of landowners and big property developers have wrecked the ‘British Dream’ of homeownership. He argues persuasively that the building of homes was sacrificed to speculation in land originally unleashed by the Conservative governments of the 1950s and 1960s, resulting in windfall gains for landowners but an increasing fraction of wage earners without the prospect of decent homes. Echoing Henry George, Halligan proposes restoring the tax on rising land values created by planning permission, cancelled in 1961 – a radical idea whose second coming is long overdue.”

Robert Skidelsky, Wolfson History Prize winner

“There is no bigger issue facing the UK than the nation’s housing crisis, the full extent of which is outlined in Liam Halligan’s splendid book. Halligan explains, simply and clearly, exactly what the problem is. Even better, he comes up with a workable solution for tackling it.”

Larry Elliott, The Guardian

“The UK’s housing crisis is creating a dangerously widening gap between generations. In this hard-hitting book, Liam Halligan spells out the politically challenging decisions needed to deal with it.”

Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat leader 2017–2019

“Why are houses in the UK so expensive? Why are new-builds such low quality? How do house builders manage to consistently make super profits in what should be a competitive market? These questions matter: the UK’s housing failures have knock on effects into everything from our social cohesion and our fertility rates. In Home Truths, Liam Halligan devastatingly lays the blame where it belongs – at the door of decades of public policy failure. Can it be fixed? It can. It just needs a brave government to take up Halligan’s proposed policy fix. Required reading for anyone who wants to understand how our housing wrongs can be righted.”

Merryn Somerset Webb, Financial Times

“One of the best recent depictions of how the mega-corporations have let us down.”


“Vivid and lucid … a brilliantly written gem. With comment and insight from everyone from Cabinet ministers to beleaguered home-seekers, Halligan’s trenchant account of the UK’s desperate housing crisis is a blistering polemic backed up by cold, hard economic fact. A thorough-going and exhaustively researched volume, Home Truths is required reading for all those priced off the property ladder.”

Matthew Syed, The Times

“Thoroughly researched, forensically argued and utterly convincing.”

Max King, MoneyWeek

“The reason Liam Halligan’s Home Truths is so utterly brilliant and a must-read is that he explains precisely why we have a housing crisis … when you know why there is a crisis, you can find a solution. Guess what? Halligan has the solution too.”

Maggie Pagano, executive editor, Reaction

“As this book points out with eloquence and moral clarity, out-of-date land legislation is holding up a genuine revival of social housebuilding and is the only solution to the national emergency our housing crisis has become. Home Truths is a call to arms for politicians and campaigners of all parties and none in the fight to defend the basic right to a decent home.”

Polly Neate, chief executive, Shelter
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  • Paperback, 400 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785906503
  • 14 January 2021
  • £9.99
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