Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps is never off-message, knowingly or otherwise. He gave an interview to The Spectator earlier this week in which he dismissed criticism of the coalition’s affordable housing programme, attacked Ukip and Nigel Farage, and laid out the reasons for voting Conservative at the local elections. You can listen to the whole interview above. Here are some selected quotes:
Shapps on affordable housing:
‘Look at the coalition’s record over 5 years… We will have put £19bn of both private and public funds into affordable homes and produced 170,000 new affordable homes… I can exclusively that I’m very confident we’ll deliver, and probably over deliver, within the 5 years of this parliament.’ Shapps on local government reform:
‘I think if you’re going to draw wider lessons from Labour’s whole approach and our long-term economic plan it would be this. Labour said that when we started the programme of reducing the amount of money available to local authorities, they said it would be Armageddon… The truth, four years on and something like a 26-28% reduction in the money going to local authorities, is that satisfaction from the public has gone up not down. How is this possible overall? The answer is that there was masses of waste. They’ve found new, innovative and really impressive ways to do things and they’re delivering better services for less.’ Shapps on the Conservative offer on council tax:
‘I think people really got a measure of council tax under the last Labour government. Council tax doubled for almost everybody in the country – in some cases more so. We have put a lot of time, energy and resource in this government, Conservative-led, to try to hold down these council tax bills.