Local governments that fail to meet annual targets for the construction of subsidised housing for the less privileged will be banned from building new offices for themselves, the central government announced.
Detailed guidelines issued by the State Council made the creation of more public housing for low- and middle-income families and migrant workers one of the nation's top priorities for the next five years.
The guidelines, released on Wednesday, urge local governments to do all they can to meet the central government's target of building 10 million subsidised homes by the end of this year. Beijing wants 36 million subsidised homes built by 2015.
'Those cities that fail to reach the target should be banned from building government office buildings,' the guidelines posted on the State Council's website said. 'An accountability mechanism was also set up to monitor all local governments and relevant departments, with those officials who fail to meet construction schedules being questioned by [more senior officials].'
The guidelines call on provincial-level officials to closely monitor the progress of subsidised-housing projects in every city and town, and to ensure they are safe and of high quality. Officials will face punishment if they fail to fulfil their duties.
The guidelines also set down rules to ensure that the new housing is not abused by households that are not eligible for it.
All leases will have to be checked every five years and households found to be cheating will be banned from applying for a home under the programme for five years. People who buy subsidised homes will be able to sell them after five years, the guidelines say.
According to Housing Ministry statistics, by September construction had begun on 86 per cent of subsidised housing projects planned for this year. Work on the remaining projects should begin by the end of November.