Inside Housing – Commentary – The housing policy debate in the Tory leadership race has been more than depressing
Quantitative easing has helped create an asset bubble in which “people feel that housing is the only safe place to put their money and we need to change that so that houses are not just investments for people who already have houses”. She cited the impact of buy-to-let and second homes in coastal areas.
Ms Truss said it was very worrying that people were getting older and older before they could afford their first home and argued it was a problem for the country and an election problem for the Tories.
However, she saw a problem with “one size fits all” approaches and argued that we need to “build more” in cities and allow for gradual expansion, but not huge targets, in rural areas: “We won’t have no successful planning policy. if we do not have the support of the entire Conservative Party. I don’t want another planning war like we’ve had before. It is very important that we have policies that have local consent. »
Finally came the favourite, ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak. “We’re all conservatives and we believe in home ownership,” he said, but getting consent for the number of homes we need is a challenge.
“Liz Truss said it was very worrying that people were getting old before they could afford their first home and argued that it was a problem for the country and an election problem for the Conservatives”
He cited brownfields, urban densification and modular construction as examples of actions needed, as well as the return of small and medium-sized builders to the market and the halting of development by large developers.
But he had a disturbing message about the affordable housing program. “We also have a very big budget for social housing which the government supports,” he said. “One of the things that Robert Jenrick did very well was to start shifting that budget towards ownership.”
He also welcomed moves to get developers to provide Affordable Housing Bonds as homes to own and rent: “It’s a philosophical difference we have with Labor because we believe in supporting home ownership, not just keeping people in rented social housing. A lot of people don’t like that, but we have to make sure we stand up for that, because ownership is something that as a value is really important to us as a party.
Accommodation did not feature in the ensuing debates on Channel 4 and ITV, but two of the candidates developed their plans in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday.
Ms Badenoch spoke of the need to control immigration: “People – rightly – recognize that building more houses without doing anything to reduce immigration is like climbing the escalator down.
“We will never get where we need to go with this approach, and we will not persuade people to accept more homes if it is because of immigration failures. If we can bring immigration back to a sustainable level, then we can protect green spaces for our children and valuable farmland.
“Going back to the future is tricky at the best of times, but going back to an invented past reflects the level of the housing debate”
And Ms Truss doubled down on her post by saying ‘I will end ‘Stalinist’ housing targets’ and rely instead on tax cuts and deregulation to incentivize companies to build new homes.
Now, if you think that sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because it is. One of the first acts of the Tory-led Coalition government was to order local councils to tear up Labour’s regional space strategies, or what Eric Pickles called ‘the failure of top-down planning-type targets soviet tractor”.
In their place would come what Grant Shapps called the “powerful new incentive” of the New Homes Bonus, the National Planning Policy Framework and, eventually, purchase assistance.
Going back to the future is tricky at the best of times, but going back to an invented past reflects the level of the housing debate.
It is a party that has been in power for 12 years and one of the main contenders for the post of Prime Minister attacks his own policy by calling it “Stalinist”.
Jules Birch, columnist, Inside Housing