Will Heaven

How Boris’s planning revolution can keep Nimbys on side

(Getty images)

There is a basic political idea behind the Planning Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech. When you build a house, someone buys it – and when they do, they tend to start voting Conservative. The Bill’s aim is to get more houses built, 300,000 a year by the mid 2020s, helping to create millions more homeowners over the next decade and bringing long-term dividends to the Conservative party.

The data supports this idea: House of Commons Library research shows that at the 2019 general election, 57 per cent of voters who owned their home outright voted Conservative, as did 43 per cent of people with mortgages. Renters, both private and social, went in the opposite direction.

We hear lots about left-behind Red Wall voters; a bit less about the Red Wall family with a £40,000 household income, four-bedroom house in a decent village, two kids and two cars – who would see moving to London as a major lifestyle downgrade. For a long time, they have looked like Tories but voted Labour for tribal reasons. Brexit and Boris have changed that.

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Building more homes isn’t just a political calculation – it should be a point of principle

But building more homes isn’t just a political calculation – it should be a point of principle. Home ownership among young adults has plunged in the last two decades. In the mid 1990s, more than two thirds of those aged 25–34 with ordinary incomes owned their own home. Twenty years later, that figure was just 27 per cent. The vast majority of my peers are stuck forking out huge chunks of their salaries on rent, while they struggle to save up for a deposit.

That has serious knock-on effects in millions of lives. YouGov data shows that huge numbers of young people are delaying job moves, putting

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