Housing has to be a focus for our next government

01 June 2017

Two years ago, before the last general election, I was quoted as saying:

“Based on the Conservative’s manifesto, home ownership is going to be a major focus for this government, with Mr Cameron wanting to “liberate” those who are “trapped” in the rental sector.”

Well, despite all the fine words offered up at the time, we haven’t seen much sign of this “major focus”.  The recent Housing White Paper played at addressing the issue, but we haven’t seen much action since it was launched.

Understandably a key focus for all the political parties is what is going to happen post Brexit, but housing also needs to remain one of the key domestic issues.

Interestingly, in a poll this month (May) of almost 1500 Conservative party grass roots members by website conservativehome.com, one of the highest priority issues was ‘building more houses’.  The website went on to say:

“There’s no doubt that this is one of the most pressing issues facing British governments of any colour: we’re not building nearly enough new houses, which means demand greatly outstrips supply and prices stay sky-high. But it’s a particular challenge for the Tories, who are supposed to be the party of home-ownership – a long-term drift back towards a society of renters would bode ill for the party’s electoral prospects.”

Labour has also made housing one of its key pledges in its manifesto too, promising to set up a new department for housing and pledging to build over a million publicly funded new homes over five years, with at least half a million being council homes.  Labour has also pledged to introduce a range of measures for private renters including rent controls, secure tenancies, a charter of private tenants’ rights and increasing access to affordable home ownership.  Good news for tenants but not necessarily as good for landlords without a similar measures to protect landlords from bad tenants.

There is little on how these housing projects would be funded, but it is clear that every party seems to recognise the priority that needs to be placed on ensuring that we have enough housing.  As successive governments have failed to take the steps necessary to ensure there are enough homes, whichever party wins we need to see this talk turned clearly into action.

 

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Debbie Staveley
Director and Owner,
bClear Communications

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