"One - an extra £10 billion would be pumped into Help to Buy and two, an extra £2.5 million would be injected into the garden city initiative."
What was the big news story of the Conservative Party Conference for you? Comedian Lee Nelson handing Theresa May a P45? That unfortunate frog in the throat that plagued the Prime Minister at the worst possible time? The Tory party slogan literally falling to the floor as the set began to crumble? Yes, Mrs May’s speech was certainly littered with newspaper fodder however unsurprisingly the key issue of the conference for me (and I’m sure for many of you) surrounded housing. And, unfortunately, it didn’t fill me with optimism.
From the Prime Minister’s interviews on political shows to Sajid Javid’s speech to delegates, the party seemed keen to make it clear that housing was a key priority. Two announcements were made to illustrate this. One - an extra £10 billion would be pumped into Help to Buy and two, an extra £2.5 million would be injected into the garden city initiative.
First let me say that any steps towards addressing the housing crisis are a step in the right direction and it’s good to see the issue playing a part in the conference. However, I don’t feel that either of these schemes will have any impact on the ever developing housing crisis.
Help to Buy is a short term fix that will essentially have long term implications. Helping buyers onto the ladder in this way will only inflate prices and therefore exacerbate the problem for generations to come.
Meanwhile, the garden city funding will provide 155,000 new houses - a drop in the ocean compared to what is really needed right now.
While the party should be applauded for prioritising housing I can’t help but wonder ‘Is that the best you can do?’ and, as I’m sure it’s not, it leaves me sceptical as to whether these minor solutions for such a major problem are meant as some distraction, to placate us for some time without actually addressing the issue. Real action needs to be taken now.