Could housing hold the key to the Conservatives’ chances of winning the general election?
I’d assumed till now that the fact David Cameron made housing (or rather home ownership) one of his six priorities for speeches signalled no more than a desire to put aspiration at the heart of the Tory campaign. Mixing a few dubious claims about Help to Buy with some boasts about the Starter Home Initiative might mean some extra votes but housing would remain a secondary issue behind the economy, the NHS and immigration.
But two tweets this week by influential Conservative Tim Montgomerie made me wonder about this. Montgomerie is a Times columnist but that understates his influence in the party as the co-founder of the Centre for Social Justice, creator of the Conservative Home website and speechwriter for two Tory leaders.
-> Read the rest of this post on Inside Edge 2, my blog for Inside Housing
The first part of my analysis of Margaret Thatcher’s housing legacy looks at the right to buy and the property-owning democracy.
The death of the former prime minister got me thinking in what I hope is a dispassionate way about what her time in office meant to housing.
What seems to be undeniable is that the right to buy represented a sea change. Many people would nominate British Gas or British Airways or BT as her greatest privatisation but council housing was bigger than any of them. Some 1.5 million homes were sold between 1979 and 1990 (500,000 of those between 1979 and 1983). Capital receipts from the right to buy totalled £17.6 billion between 1979 and 1989 compared to £23.5 billion from all the other privatisations put together.
It is the one housing policy that is being mentioned in all of the obituaries and hagiographies in the national media but the truth about Thatcher and the right to buy is more complex that you might think.
Read the rest of this post on Inside Edge, my blog for Inside Housing