The green belt is very important. We need to ensure that green spaces are protected, and that we have beautiful spaces in which we can all live. We also need to ensure that local plans are up to date and fit for purpose, in order to ensure that the houses that people want and need can be built.
That brings me rather nicely to my fundamental point. We all know that this country does not have enough homes. That is why we need a more agile and flexible planning system. KPMG and Shelter have both reported that simply to meet rising future demand, a minimum of a quarter of a million new homes will be needed every year. The median house price in England is eight times higher than median gross annual earnings; in London, it is 12.3 times higher.
We have to be bold and ambitious in our vision for the future of planning and house building in England. That is why, in January 2018, we set up Homes England as our housing accelerator, to intervene in the market and drive a step change in housing delivery. We have an unwavering commitment to enable the housing market to deliver at least 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s, and a million homes by the end of this Parliament. I am pleased that the latest figures show that last year housing supply, which has been growing year on year, increased by more than 241,000, to the highest level in the last 31 years.