Originally published on November 8 on my blog for Inside Housing
There are no guarantees but the penny has dropped at the DCLG that policies that were written on the back of a fag packet need lots more work. Six months after the Housing and Planning Act received Royal Assent, we are still waiting for the key details. Could it be that the new ministers have realised that some of what their predecessors did was manifestly without reason too?
Things are not remotely clear with the Housing and Planning Act but perhaps the fact that I’m even able to write that six months after it became law is good news of a sort. It remains to be seen how much will be changed or watered down but the new ministerial team at the DCLG clearly do not share the gung-ho assumptions of their predecessors and the government as a whole has bigger things on its mind. Watch the first five minutes or so of yesterday’s session at the Communities and Local Government Committee to see what I mean.
Originally posted on September 5 on Inside Edge 2, my blog for Inside Housing
Could rent to buy be the basis of a housing policy that helps deliver Theresa May’s ‘country that works for everyone’?
That’s the bold claim in a new report from Conservative think tank Renewal that calls for a radical reset of the Tories’ ambitions.
The aim is overtly political. As author David Skelton explains on Conservative Home, it is to broaden the appeal of the Conservatives to working class voters and voters outside of the South East. In a nutshell it is to capture the votes of people on low incomes by offering a housing counterpart to the national living wage.
However, while Homes for All (PDF here) is presented as being in the Tory tradition of Macmillan and Thatcher, it is also an admission that current Conservative plans do not work ‘for everyone’. Starter homes and shared ownership, the big winners from the spending review and Housing and Planning Act, are unaffordable for people on low incomes in most of the country.
Government resumes this week after a summer in limbo following the Brexit vote and change of prime minister. The unanswered questions for housing are stacking up.
The Cabinet met to discuss Brexit and parliament returns on Monday for two weeks before MPs take another break for the party conferences.
And the next few months should bring answers to some of the questions that have been hanging over housing ever since the referendum result and change of government.
Is Theresa May’s vision of ‘a country that works for everyone’ and ‘giving people more opportunity’ just rhetoric or does she want a housing system that works for everyone too?
Will Sajid Javid and Gavin Barwell offer a change of approach at the DCLG? Will they be any less obsessed with home ownership? Or any less willing to devolve funding and decision making? Will they give full government backing to the private member’s Homelessness Reduction Bill?
But the more you look beyond the big picture and look at the detail the fuller the ministerial Pending and In trays become.