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.
Criminal barristers have finally voted to end their strike action after voting 57% in favour of accepting the government’s originally proposed 15% pay rise. The Criminal Bar Association today announced the result after balloting took place last week, having backed down on their previous demands for a 25% bump. A big win for Brandon Lewis just a month into the job…
Following the result, Lewis said:
“My priority in these first few weeks as Lord Chancellor has been to end CBA strike action and reduce delays for victims, and I’m glad that barristers have now agreed to return to work. This breakthrough is a result of coming together and restarting what I hope to be a constructive relationship as we work to drive down the backlog and ensure victims see justice done sooner.”
Nick Robinson obviously had his Weetabix today. Speaking to Truss ally Brandon Lewis this morning, Robinson repeatedly grilled the former Northern Ireland Secretary over Truss’s economic plans, with Lewis refusing nine times to confirm if Truss will give cost of living “handouts” to households this winter.
“She also said we will look to do whatever we can to help people – that’s what an emergency budget is about. She’s willing to do more to help people but her focus is around doing it in a way that puts more money in people’s pockets, creates a high-growth economy with higher wages, more people in work. So rather than having handouts, what we do is have a low-tax economy that’s driving growth.”
That wasn’t enough for Robinson, who kept going and going until Lewis eventually said “that would be pre-judging a budget we’ve not had yet.”
The problem, as Guido pointed out in this morning’s campaign round-up, is Liz never rejected handouts. Her FT interview, from which this row stemmed, saw her state “tax cuts and supply side reforms” are her primary objective, however “Of course I will look at what more can be done”. It seems Brandon forgot to make this point…