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
If you had to think of one article of faith for the Conservative Party, a property-owning democracy would come pretty close to the top of the list.
David Cameron reached back to the idea in his ‘magic money tree’ speech yesterday:
‘It is important that people who work hard and do the right thing are able to buy a home. As I said in my party conference speech – it is a rebuke to those of us who believe in property owning democracy that the average age for someone buying their first home today, without any help from their parents is 33 years old. And we are determined to tackle that.’
The prime minister was clearly hinting at something to come either in the Budget or the housing announcement he’s planning just before it. Whether that’s a new stamp duty holiday, or an extension to FirstBuy or even perhaps making existing homes eligible for NewBuy remains to be seen.
First it was a revolution, then a reboot. Now it is a relaunch and a revamp.
The language has shifted considerably since David Cameron made the right to buy a key part of the ‘housing revolution’ he pledged in his Conservative conference speech in October.
Read the rest of this post at Inside Edge, my blog for Inside Housing.
I’m never quite sure about those ‘buy one, get one free’ offers in the supermarket. So can I really believe in ‘buy one, build one free’?
My local Shapps & Cameron hyperstore is offering me a ‘rebooted’ right to buy. Is it like it sounds – a desperate attempt of a 21st century marketeer to rebrand a tired old product from the 1980s as something exciting and new – or is there something in it?
Read the rest of this post on my blog at Inside Housing.