“I WANT a capital-earning democracy. Every man and woman a capitalist.
“Housing is the start. If you’re a man or woman of property, you’ve got something.”
So said Margaret Thatcher – and it was one of the key reasons she smashed three general elections in a row.
When the Conservative Party has been at its most successful, it’s because we have put the dream of home ownership at the centre of our offer.
It’s the most natural thing in the world for people to want a home of their own, whether that be a starter flat, a first home as a young couple or somewhere decent to retire.
It should be our job to make this easier, most importantly by building the homes a growing country needs.
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And this Conservative government has been doing a decent job – the number of new homes built in 2019 was the highest for 30 años.
But all this is under threat.
An amendment to our flagship Levelling Up Bill backed by some 50 Conservative MPs seeks to scrap all housing targets.
I know my colleagues who are supporting this are sincere in their concerns about building rates in their constituencies – but the simple truth is scrapping all targets would mean lots of councils stop allowing building altogether.
It would be a NIMBY’s charter.
There are lots of things we can do to ensure new homes are built to high standards and bring with them proper infrastructure like schools and roads to support existing communities.
But independent assessments show that scrapping all targets would kill 100,000 new homes a year.
That would not only represent a social and economic tragedy; it would be a disaster for the Conservative Party.
We have been going backwards in London for years, and a key reason for this is that shortage of supply means it’s already too expensive to buy, and increasingly to rent, a decent home in the capital.
Our problems in London risk spreading much more widely if we kybosh the housing market with this dangerous amendment.