Originally published on July 15 on Inside Edge 2, my blog for Inside Housing
Take your pick: targets for new homes are much too low; the private sector cannot deliver them; and policy is too focussed on home ownership.
A report published on Friday by the all-party economic affairs select committee of the House of Lords does not so much criticise the government’s approach to building more homes as skewer it.
And one of the clearest explanations I’ve yet read of why current policy cannot, and will not, work does not come from just any old committee. The group of Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem and Crossbench peers includes two former chancellors of the exchequer (Lords Lamont and Darling) and two former permanent secretaries of the Treasury (Lord Burns and Lord Turnbull) with more cabinet ministers, senior mandarins, special advisors and business people also in the mix. They are drawing on decades of experience of previous failures in housing policy.
The report is also brilliantly timed, just at the point when Theresa May’s new government is getting down to work and preparing for life after the referendum and George Osborne’s budget surplus targets.
Originally published on July 12 on Inside Edge 2, my blog for Inside Housing
Where does housing fit into Theresa May’s vision of ‘a country that works for everyone’.
The home secretary launched her campaign for the Conservative leadership with a speech in Birmingham on Monday. Within two hours she was certain to be prime minister. And by Wednesday night she will be in Downing Street.
Whether Monday’s events were choreographed with Andrea Leadsom or not, May’s speech sounded like one made by a leader in waiting. So much so that, as many people have noted, the bits about predatory capitalism and the cost of living read like they were lifted from one of Ed Miliband’s speeches before the 2015 general election.
After six years at the Home Office, May is still something of an unknown quantity on housing. A speech from 2013 that was widely seen as positioning herself to run for leader did not even mention the word.
The Birmingham speech fills in some but not all of the blanks – and once you strip away the rhetoric it begs all sorts of questions about how much she will really change.
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