Tory ministers took to the airwaves to announce their new housing policy yesterday, Sunday, in a patronising attempt to win over working class voters.
Few details were given, and those that were showed little has changed when it comes to the Tories’ vision of housing.
Defence minister Michael Fallon said that no additional funding would be made available over the measly £1.4 billion that has already been set aside. That amount is already earmarked for funding three different Tory schemes—shared ownership, “affordable” rents and rent-to-buy.
An unspecified amount of the money left after those schemes have been funded will go to building houses to rent for 10 to 15 years. After that they “will be sold to a private owner, landlord, or institutional investor,” according to a Tory press release.
“It’s a very attractive policy that will give people a real alternative to waiting and waiting and waiting to get into a council house or flat of their choice,” said Fallon on the Andrew Marr show.
But when pushed about the number of homes the policy would provide, former Tory housing minister Brandon Lewis said, “I’m not going to give you a fixed number.”
“The fact that the Tories are trying to appeal to people over housing shows the depth of the crisis,” Eileen Short, chair of Defend Council Housing, told Socialist Worker.
The Tories’ more specific proposals should set alarm bells ringing for tenants, residents and campaigners.
Fallon talked about how he wants to “strike new deals with the most ambitious councils and housing associations” for access to the small pot of cash. What compromises will councils make for the money?
Compulsory purchase orders, which allow councils to force people out of their homes to make way for redevelopments, are to be “reformed”. That could make it even easier for councils to kick people out of their homes.