Tory leadership race hots up as top MP lays out mini housing manifesto

Posted On: 
14th April 2019

A Tory MP widely tipped for the leadership of the party has set out a raft of measures to tackle the housing crisis in a veiled rebuke to Theresa May.

Former Cabinet minister Dominic Raab
Credit: 
Paul Heartfield for the House Magazine

Ex-Cabinet minister Dominic Raab accused the Government of failing to stand up to property developers as he laid out a "radical agenda" of reforms.

The move by the former housing minister will also be seen as an attempt to get out in front of other rivals bidding for the Tory crown when the Prime Minister quits.

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Mrs May has promised to “restore the dream of home-ownership” and made tackling the housing crisis gripping Britain a personal mission.

But laying out a housing manifesto in the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Raab lashed out at the Conservative failure to tackle “vested interests” to ensure enough houses get built.

He said renters should be given a leg-up onto the property ladder with a new Help to Buy scheme that would exempt landlords from paying capital gains tax if they sell their property to existing tenants.

He also said developers who fail to build houses on acquired plots at the rate they promise should face sanctions and the prospect of local councils selling sites on to smaller developers or community groups.

Mr Raab said: “Successive governments haven’t been radical enough in taking on the vested interests to get enough homes built to keep them affordable.

“Having served as housing minister, I saw that challenge first-hand – and understand the radical reforms a pioneering Conservative government must deliver, to give working Britain a fairer deal.”

It comes after another expected leadership challenger, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss, said the Government should allow building on the green belt - a proposal at odds with current party policy.

Elsewhere, Home Secretary Sajid Javid - also expected to be a contender - is said to have launched his bid to replace the PM last week in a speech to 50 Tory MPs.

According to the Sunday Times he told them the party needs to "show love" to public sector workers if it wants to win a majority at the next general election.

The paper says he will tomorrow ramp up his campaign with a speech laying out his vision to tackle crime.