Friday, 20 January 2017

Clegg: Tories blocked social housing as it produced Labour votes

David Cameron opposed increased funding for social housing in the last parliament because it would “produce more Labour voters”, Nick Clegg has claimed.

The former deputy prime minister said both the prime minister and the chancellor privately rejected Liberal Democrat calls for more money for social housebuilding under the coalition government.

An interview with the former Liberal Democrat leader in The Independent described Mr Clegg’s account of his attempt to allocate more money for social housing: “When the Lib Dems pushed repeatedly in the last parliament for money to build social housing, the prime minister and chancellor rebuffed them with the stark message: ‘All it does is produce more Labour voters.’”

Downing Street did not deny that the comments were made. However, a spokesperson said: “People at the election voted for a plan to deliver more affordable homes to buy and this government will deliver the largest affordable housing programme since the 1970s.”

The interview follows the Autumn Statement last year, in which the chancellor shifted the majority of government affordable housing funding away from affordable rent and towards subsidised homeownership.

The Liberal Democrats have previously said that they watered down a number of coalition policies related to housing in the last parliament.

Mr Clegg said in October he “dissuaded the Conservatives in coalition from fiddling with social rents to cut the housing benefit bill because it would have had a disastrous effect on the ability of housing associations to raise the money to build new homes”.

UPDATE: At 2.55pm on 26.02.2016

This article was updated to insert a Downing Street spokesperson’s comments.

 

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