Building a better future or surrendering to the past?

Originally written as a column for Inside Housing.

So now we know what the ‘people’s priorities’ are – and housing is not one of them.

The fact that housing did not feature in the speech from Rishi Sunak setting out his agenda for the new year is not a surprise in itself  – his five pledges all covered issues with far greater political saliency.

But it is still surprising that in a speech on ‘building a better future’ he did not mention housing at all and that, apart from a boast about stabilising mortgage rates, the speech steered clear of traditional Tory territory on home ownership.

He did talk about community (‘a better future also means reinforcing people’s pride in the places they call home’) and making places better (‘I love my local community and it’s not right that too many for far too long have not felt that same sense of meaning and belonging’).

But he is talking here about people who already have places they can call home and avoids any mention of those who do not have a home or need a new or more affordable one.

And that is no coincidence because he was speaking in the wake of the government’s surrender late last year to its own backbenchers on planning and housebuilding.

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