A leading property expert has given the thumbs up to government plans to tackle Britain’s housing shortage which including convert abandoned shops and officers into housing.

Speaking from the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Ajay Jagota of North East sales and lettings firm KIS and deposit-free renting solution Dlighted called the measures “exactly the policies I’d be proposing if I was Prime Minister”.

Chancellor Phillip Hammond used his conference speech to announce a £3bn Home Building Fund, designed to build 25,000 new homes by 2020 and 225,000 in the longer term.

The stimulus package will provide short-term loans to encourage new developers into the market and includes a £2bn boost for schemes which develop housing on publicly-owned Brownfield land and in abandoned shopping centres and unused office buildings.

Conference attendee and leading property commentator Ajay Jagota responded to the plans.

He said: “These proposals are not just sensible and effective solutions for meeting Britain’s housing needs – they’re exactly the policies I would be proposing if I was Prime Minister.

“I’ve called for measures increasing the output of smaller homebuilders and to help convert abandoned shops and offices into homes for many years and it’s to be applauded that  they are being taken forward by the new government.

“Away from the conference hall Theresa May’s government seems to also be making a welcome shift in housing policy away from one with home-ownership as its primary focus towards one which recognises the every-increasing significance of private renting in the UK.

“Just this week the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors suggested that Britain needs almost 2 million new rented homes and policies reflecting the role of the private rented sector are long overdue.

“Home ownership and long-term renting are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the struggle many renters face in putting aside money for a deposit is more often than not what keeps them in long-term renting. That’s why my next proposal for the government is one which allows people to save for a home of their own instead of wasting thousands of pounds in useless rental deposits.

“As an attendee of the conference there’s been a lot of talk at fringe events that deposits are now so complicated that landlords wouldn’t take them if they didn’t have too and it’s clear there is growing appetite in the industry for deposit reform. That, for me, is the next innovative step the government can take”.