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Did the Tory Party Conference focus on housing policy enough?

Industry Insight October 7th, 2016
Did the Tory Party Conference focus on housing policy enough?

Following the recent Tory Party Conference, Arthur takes a brief look at the Conservative’s stance on housing and planning policy now that May is in power.

The Tory Party Conference took place from Sunday 2nd to Wednesday 4th October at the ICC, Birmingham. It is unsurprising that the gathering focused primarily on the over-looming issue of Brexit. Theresa May repeated her message that “Brexit means Brexit”,ensuring the public that the government had a plan in place without really releasing any concrete details about how the process will be carried out.

According to a recent Guardian article, a section of young voters have been less than impressed with the Tory leader’s performance at the conference. Many would have liked her to focus on issues to do with the housing crisis, rather than immigration. Since Boris Johnson’s plans to build affordable homes in the capital weren’t entirely realised, many young Londoners are not only giving up on the prospect of owning their own home, but they are increasingly worried about whether or not they will even be able to afford the extortionate rents within a few years.

It seems that the Government’s housing policy can no longer be geared solely towards ownership schemes, like the relatively unsuccessful Help-to-Buy. Housing shortages mean that government intervention is required to provide more homes for rent.

The proposed housing policy coming from the Tory Party’s new housing minister, Gavin Barwell, is certainly an improvement on the Cameron administration, where Osborne’s budget did very little to boost the supply of new homes. Despite the fact that housing wasn’t its primary focus, two huge funding packages were announced at the Tory gathering this week. The £3 billion Home Builders fund is intended to help build more than 225,000 homes, which will help the Government along the way to reach the 1 homes by 2020 target. Changes to planning will also provide more potential to build on public and. Whilst Barwell disagrees with mass council-house building schemes, he has said that he wants to build a range of homes, including some at sub-market rent. As well as this, the Tory Party are keen to improve the quality of rented housing. This is a much needed focal point as more and more people are forced to become part of ‘Generation Rent’.

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