Healey admits central build targets were a failure
Former housing minister John Healey has admitted the approach of the last Labour government to building more homes through central targets was a failure and that the party ‘turned over’ too many housing ministers.
Speaking yesterday at the National Housing Federation’s annual leaders’ forum in London, the MP for Wentworth and Dearne added that the housing sector was too ‘introverted’ to effectively present its case to government and called for a more coherent central message.
Asked if he felt the strategy of implementing housing targets through the nine regional housing strategies for England had been a success, Mr Healey said: ‘A qualified no. We hugely overspecified on planning and created a planning panopoly.’
The former shadow secretary of state for health added that housing professionals faced a central government which operated in silos and admitted ‘…in my 11 months as housing minister I didn’t have a single meeting with anyone from the department for health and didn’t ask for one’.
Mr Healey said part of the reason for this was that ‘…the approach to housing is too fragmented by tenure. This doesn’t then build to a wider sense of crisis in housing in government.
‘I have never come across such an introverted field as housing. It doesn’t make connections that force people to recognise that housing is an economic crisis; it is a health crisis.’
He added that housing professionals had a compelling story to tell, but that the current government ‘…is not one which believes in social housing. It is going to become more rump housing for the benefit-dependent’.