Yesterday (17 October 2017) Theresa May held a housing summit at No 10 Downing Street. Those in attendance included the Chartered Institute of Housing, the Local Government Association, the National Housing Federation, the Housebuilders Federation and larger housing associations.
They said that the Prime Minister was in “listening mode”.
While Mrs May said she could not guarantee that all suggestions would be £80, she’s reported to say that there is a collective will government to do more to increase housebuilding.
David Montague, the chief executive of one of the largest housing association groups, L&Q, said: “It was an honest discussion about what needs to be done: what the barriers were, how we can work together to overcome those barriers, the importance of flexibility, the importance of partnership, the importance of investment in skills, the importance of delivering land.”
And here is the crucial bit, with my emphasis. He said: “We’re speaking a common language now and that hasn’t always been the way. This is a Tory government. They want to give voters what they say voters want, which is to own their own home, and the conversation starts and ends with homeownership, but there is a complete understanding that not everybody can afford their own home so we’ve got to invest across all tenures if we’re going to build more homes.”
I despair. Mrs May recently announced a £10 billion boost for the Help to Buy scheme – public subsidy for private ownership. The modest £2 billion for social and ‘affordable’ housing will see just 5,000 homes built per annum. We need homes for rent at social rent levels. And what we get is more of the same old same old. This won’t help to achieve “a country that works for everyone”.
Tackling the housing crisis, and the need to build homes that people can afford to rent, feels further away today than ever.