Up to 300,000 new homes must be built every year to help solve the housing crisis, according to Sajid Javid.
The communities secretary admitted the government has not done enough and said it was now considering “borrowing more” to invest in building and infrastructure - a move not dissimilar to measures set out in Labour’s general election manifesto.
He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “We are looking at new investment and I am sure at the budget we will be covering housing.
“What I want to do is make sure we are using everything available to deal with this housing crisis and where that means, for example, where we can sensibly borrow more to invest in infrastructure that leads to more housing being built, and take advantage of some of the record low interest rates, I think we should absolutely be considering it.”
Javid said it was “vitally important” to keep bringing down the deficit, but “investing for the future can be the right thing if done sensibly”.
He said he believed between 275,000 and 300,000 new homes, of a range of tenures, need to be built every year to begin to make a dent in the country’s housing issues.
The former banker also unveiled new measures to tackle “gazumping” in the housing market - when a seller accepts a higher offer from a new buyer - to help support those buying their own homes.
Javid said the government was also hoping to put more housing data online to speed up the house-buying and selling process.
“He want to make it cheaper and less stressful,” he added.
But shadow housing minister John Healey claimed the government’s pledge was nothing more than “hot air”.
“Any promise of new investment is welcome, but the reality is spending on new affordable homes has been slashed since 2010 so new affordable house building is at a 24-year low,” he added.
“Rather than set more targets they can’t meet, ministers should back Labour’s plan to build 100,000 genuinely affordable homes a year, including the biggest council house building programme in more than 30 years.”
A new poll commissioned earlier this week revealed just 17% of people would be happy for a housing development to be built within half a mile of their home.
The YouGov survey showed the public are more against new developments in their neighbourhoods than in favour, despite the need for more homes being well-documented.
However, 38% of people asked would be happy to have extra social housing within half a mile of their homes – with only 22% unhappy at the prospect.
Javid said laws around safety in new social housing would be carefully scutinised in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, which he described as “the most difficult thing I have dealt with in my life”, and that councils would be supported to install sprinklers and other safety measures.
“If local authorities cannot afford it we have said we will work with them,” he added.
“We will provide them the capacity to access those funds and that could be done in a variety of forms. Any local authority will get the support they need to make sure that work is done. Just over 30 have contacted us so far and three or four have asked for additional support.”