You talked in your speech on Tuesday about the need for this generation to ‘change our country for the better’, to tackle injustice and to ‘build a society fit for our kids to live in’. As you begin to formulate your policies it is worth noting that all of these aims can be achieved through an ambitious housing policy.
In this week’s edition of Inside Housing we publish a special focus on the 2.5 million people who are too poor to be able to afford to buy a house, but too wealthy to qualify for government support. This rapidly growing group of ‘inbetweeners’ - generally young workers in their 20s and 30s - highlights the affordability gap that now yawns across large areas of the UK. As you acknowledge, the previous Labour government bears responsibility for this and other failings, but, without radical steps, this situation will persist and is likely to confront your own children in the decades to come.
Yes, part of the solution to help this generation is increased public investment in building more affordable housing. However, these funds can be at least matched by innovative social landlords keen to invest in society (whether ‘big’ or ‘good’). We report on one example this week, where housing associations and councils are to invest at least £50 million in setting up a £175 million bank to lend to shared owners and help them onto the housing ladder.
There are other areas in which housing could help you deliver your aims. Given your previous ministerial portfolio, you will be more than familiar with the catalytic role social landlords could play in the greening of the UK’s housing stock.
Then there is welfare reform. As we continue to highlight in our What’s the Benefit? campaign, the present proposed cuts to housing benefit will be deeply unfair. Like you, social landlords accept the need for reform and Inside Housing will be proposing more equitable means of reducing the annual £21 billion bill. Otherwise thousands of people across the UK are set to suffer a huge injustice - they need your party’s support.
You want a way to win back the 5 million votes that Labour lost? This is how.