Is that it?

The reality of Mrs May's precarious majority was all too evident as the Housing White paper was published yesterday.

Despite having the gestation period of an elephant (well, that's how it felt to me) with many a false alarm, out plopped a mouse... in legislative terms.  If I'm being cruel one must ask if it really warrants a white paper.

That's not to say it doesn't have some useful measures; giving CPO powers to LPAs for 'stalled sites' is an interesting move, but is only likely to have a significant effect in the short term.  The new Housing Delivery Test is the result of central government's increasing frustration with recalcitrant planning authorities and replaces a more radical idea to give county councils strategic planning responsibility.  The announcement regarding modular construction could be the most radical and long lasting of the Paper's measures and could herald a small revolution for the industry.  Apart from that, it was pretty slim pickings.

Nowhere to be seen were the measures signalling major state intervention in the sector, or the change in policy responsibility as mentioned earlier, or the very sensitive issue around redrawing the Green Belt - though I'm not sure how seriously that was ever being genuinely considered.

No, this paper had all the hallmarks of a cautious government with a wafer thin majority and a minister in Gavin Barwell who, given his previous experience as a government whip, had taken very careful soundings as to what the government could get away with.

I suspect the still relatively new occupant of Downing St will be very frustrated at the pace of progress on this front and the attractions of a snap election must be looking increasingly tempting.

This article was written by Frank Browne a former leader of Wokingham Borough Council and a member of our non-executive board.