New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. The Staggers
11 October 2022

Why are the Tories declaring war on housing?

From allowing no-fault evictions to dropping affordable housing, none of it makes sense.

By Samir Jeraj

This week, Liz Truss’s government is reportedly looking to drop two key Conservative housing commitments from the 2019 election: the requirement for affordable housing in new developments, and ending “no-fault” evictions. It’s a bad look for a government to break manifesto promises, and this one will likely sabotage the little hope the Tories had of building the electoral support they need among millennials and Gen Z. It increasingly feels like the government is struggling to think beyond its next U-turn, flailing about for any issue to distract from its mismanagement of the economy.

The Tories used to be a party of housing. Perhaps not in the way most people would think of, but they long argued that property should be the basis of political rights – if you owned (and later rented) property worth a certain amount, you should have the vote. That was the guiding principle of Tory policy: to get people – even the working classes – into housing and into property ownership. In the age of full democracy, the party committed to building housing. Harold Macmillan’s government built hundreds of thousands of homes; supposedly, he liked to see the numbers racking up like runs on a cricket board.

Abolishing no-fault evictions could sit pretty well with Tory ideology. It would promote stability, particularly of families, and enable people to save towards buying their own home. Affordable housing was another part of that vision, not the municipal socialism of council housing, but of affordable rent (Boris Johnson was a fan) and shared ownership to get people on to that property ladder

Both policies are at risk from Truss’s desperate dash for growth, as if the workforce for those growth industries won’t need an affordable roof over their head or hope they have a future in the UK. Brexit impacts still looms over the workforce crisis, and a skilled worker could find better housing, work and prospects in another country. The UK has long had some of the worst housing (and housing policies) in Europe, along with a dizzying turnover of housing ministers – more than 20 since 1997.

It’s a bitter disappointment to those of us who have worked, researched, campaigned, lobbied, and made the case for a modern, sensible housing policy that will work for our society and our economy. Ending no-fault evictions brought together an unlikely alliance, from Michael Gove and Shelter through to radical grassroots groups who physically block evictions. Maybe some ideas are just too sensible for the Truss government – why keep them when they could be replaced by miserable, random chaos.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

[See also: Sam Tarry’s deselection has inflamed Labour’s factional divisions]

Content from our partners
We need an urgent review of UK pensions
The future of private credit
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors

Topics in this article : , ,