Sir Keir’s wrapped up his big keynote speech on Labour’s new “5 Missions for a Better Britain”. We got the missions trailed in advance: the economy, NHS, crime, education and clean energy. When the missions were released, Guido noted the lack of any mention of house building, though gave Starmer the benefit of the doubt given housing could easily come under ‘the economy.’
The speech came and went, and there was absolutely no mention of housebuilding. Guido double-checked by searching the “Check Against Delivery” speech emailed out by Labour press: nothing.
Thankfully, others are getting on with promoting housebuilding. Baroness Fox gave a great speech in the Lords last night, pointing out there’s no point to levelling up legislation if the bill doesn’t commit to a housing programme:
“Extraordinarily, there is no mention of increasing the supply of houses or of targets to build more homes at a time when we need that to happen with missionary zeal if we are to stand a chance of making levelling up more than a slogan.”
“The hugely impressive housing campaign group Priced Out, staffed by young people who are passionate about housing, explains this well. It says:
‘The affordability of housing is a significant concern for millions of people. If we don’t fix the root cause of this problem, we will continue to ruin lives and futures’.”
“We must acknowledge that the many blocks to housebuilding are political choices. Increasingly, planning decisions and policy decisions are likely to prioritise fashionable eco concerns over citizens’ needs, prosperity, development or growth. Indeed, green ideological restrictions on housebuilding are now giving old-fashioned NIMBYist concerns a veneer of progressive righteousness.”
Meanwhile, Trussite Brandon Lewis has launched a new report with Policy Exchange today, calling for an overhaul of planning laws to build new homes, which would provide economic “rocket boosters”.
The PX report estimates that building an additional 100,000 houses per year could boost the economy by £17.7 billion, while saving £10 billion in housing benefit by increasing social housing. Politically, Labour has no incentive to cave in to NIMBYs given their lack of home county representation. Unfortunately today’s speech indicates we should expect very little change in the current anti-building settlement should they come to power…
Read Policy Exchange’s new report in full here.