Originally published on June 1 on my blog for Inside Housing.
Ever since the advance reports of what would be in the Conservative manifesto, I’ve been wondering where the party’s new housing agenda comes from.
As I blogged at the time, the manifesto programme seems to go well beyond the Housing White Paper. It involves not just ‘a new generation of social housing’ but also enhanced compulsory purchase powers for councils and land value capture.
The obvious answer – one that all governing parties do in their manifesto – is to take what is already on the stocks in the relevant department and spin it into a more visionary-sounding idea.
That seems to be what happened with the discussions already underway between the DCLG and three councils – Stoke, Sheffield and Newark and Sheffield – about a package of measures that would enable them to build more homes.
As Inside Housing reported last month, the deals with those pilot authorities involve not just flexibility on borrowing caps but potentially new deals on rents and land assembly too.
That is important because councils have identified a range of barriers to them building new homes, including the caps, the way Right to Buy receipts are treated and (especially) the rent cut. Funding would come from the £1.4 bn allocated in the Autumn Statement
But the manifesto seems to be about more than just a few pilots and some existing money.