Housing crisis

Did the Tories ‘kill the dream of homeownership’?

11 min listen

In today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Keir Starmer accused the Prime Minister and his party of having ‘killed the dream of homeownership’. With news this week that Rishi Sunak is considering reintroducing ‘Help to Buy’ while Michael Gove is sued for blocking a new housing development in Kent, does Starmer actually have a point? Katy Balls talks to Kate Andrews and Fraser Nelson. Produced by Cindy Yu.

How to build more houses

Since the 1930s, bad planning has destroyed swathes of our most precious heritage while causing economic damage that, by some estimates, exceeds that of the second world war. We will end the disaster only if we learn from past mistakes. The current war about housing targets and ‘concreting over the South East’ is the latest in a long line of — generally successful — revolts against government housebuilding plans. In the 1940s, jeering protestors coined the name ‘Silkingrad’ for housing minister Lewis Silkin’s new town of Stevenage. In the 1980s, Nicholas Ridley’s controversial boost in housebuilding was reversed when he was replaced by Chris Patten. And in 2010 the backlash

Are plans to abandon the office premature?

To what extent will our pandemic lifestyles stick? With ‘work from home’ guidance in place for the best part of a year now, it’s has been assumed that trends towards flexible working are accelerating. Until the guidance formally shifts and employees have complete freedom to return to work, no one is quite sure what the demand to return — or stay home — will be. But the City of London is already preparing, as today the caretakers of the Square Mile announced their plans to convert empty offices into residences with the aim of creating an additional 1,500 homes by 2030. This is a sizable increase given there are only estimated

Are the Tories about to ditch one of their biggest policy achievements?

We already know much of what will be in Rishi Sunak’s Budget next week. Another £30bn for Covid-relief measures: furlough scheme into the summer, stamp duty holiday and the uplift in universal credit (which is also expected to be time-limited, despite pressure from the opposition to make a permanent adjustment). But this year’s spending splurges are becoming a footnote in a Budget dominated by the prospect of tax rises, for which the Chancellor is already receiving backlash from the left and right. Rumours of a corporation tax hike, circling for a week now, have not been denied. There’s also talk of capital gains tax coming under the Treasury’s spotlight, with

Sir Roger Scruton’s last report could revolutionise UK housing

Earlier this month the philosopher and author Sir Roger Scruton passed away. In a series of tributes to his work and his character, many reflected on the contributions he made to his fields of expertise and society at large. Today in central London, one of his final contributions was revealed. The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission published its findings on housing in the UK this afternoon. The work, led by Sir Roger and Nicholas Boys Smith, is a product of a year-long review of the UK’s planning system, which has come up with 45 policy proposals organised around eight key themes for all levels of government. Scruton’s last piece of