Hammond Re-Announces Existing Tory Housing Policy

Philip Hammond says housing is the “number one priority” for his Budget, well he’d better hope he’s got more in his locker than what was pre-briefed to the Sundays. The top line announcement of 300,000 new homes a year is already Tory policy – just last month Sajid Javid was using the same number. Not only is Hammond’s ‘new’ target not new, it is also entirely underwhelming. Last year 217,000 houses were built and that didn’t make a dent in the housing crisis. A meagre increase of a quarter is nowhere near what Tory MPs have been asking for. Saj reckons they need to spend £50 billion to make a difference, Hammond is offering just £5 billion.

The verdict from the experts is damning – the Times‘ property correspondent says “even for current government’s standards, this has to be the weakest set of measures to fix the housing crisis seen in a long time”. The Chancellor’s other damp proposal to launch an inquiry into landbanking is classic Hammond and already has industry figures groaning. Meanwhile the think tanks are tearing their hair out, with the Institute of Economic Affairs bemoaning his refusal to countenance building on the green belt and the Adam Smith Institute arguing stamp duty should be abolished. Last week the government were promising us “real action” on housing and a Churchillian effort from Hammond to get Britain building. He needs something much bigger than this on Wednesday…




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Quote of the Day

Jeremy Corbyn in the Evening Standard

“… we must also face the uncomfortable fact that a small number of our members and supporters hold anti-Semitic views and attitudes, which need to be confronted and dealt with more rapidly and effectively.

The evidence is clear enough. Labour staff have seen examples of Holocaust denial, crude stereotypes of Jewish bankers, conspiracy theories blaming 9/11 on Israel, and even one member who appeared to believe that Hitler had been misunderstood.

So let me be clear. People holding those views have no place in the Labour Party.

… we have not done enough to get to grips with the problem, and the Jewish community and our Jewish members deserve an apology. My party and I are sorry for the hurt and distress caused. … We must strive to understand why anti-Semitism has surfaced in our party…

… when criticism of or opposition to the Israeli government uses anti-Semitic ideas — attributing its injustices to Jewish identity, demanding that Jews in Britain or elsewhere answer for its conduct, or comparing Israel to the Nazis — then a line must be drawn.  Anti-Zionism is not in itself anti-Semitic and many Jews themselves are not Zionists. But there are also a very few who are drawn to the Palestinian question precisely because it affords an opportunity to express hostility to Jewish people in a “respectable” setting. Our movement must not be a home for such individuals.

Second, there are people who have come to see capitalism and imperialism as the product of conspiracy by a small shadowy elite rather than a political, economic, legal and social system. That is only a step from hoary myths about “Jewish bankers” and “sinister global forces”.

These views do no service to the struggle for a just society.”

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