EXCL Tory MPs set to pile pressure on Theresa May to fix 'broken' housing market

Posted On: 
17th June 2018

Nearly a dozen Conservative MPs are set to heap pressure on Theresa May over housing and urge her to adopt a set of radical ideas to “overhaul the broken market”.

In March Theresa May said young people were "right to be angry" about being unable to afford a home
Credit: 
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A 10-strong group of prominent Tories - including those with key Government and select committee jobs - will lay a dossier of ideas on the desk of the Prime Minister during a private meeting on Wednesday.

The move has been spearheaded by Treasury aide and North Cornwall MP Scott Mann, who has rallied colleagues including junior minister Sarah Newton and Health Select Committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston.

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The Government has set a target of building 300,000 homes a year to meet demand and curb increasingly eye-watering prices, but it has a long way to go after just 180,000 were completed in 2016/17.

According to Mr Mann, the ten Tory MPs will on Wednesday urge Mrs May to get back to her “number one domestic agenda” and make a bold offer to the under-40s on housing.

“Housing supply has not kept up with demand for well over two decades and now it is time for a comprehensive overhaul of a broken market,” he wrote in an article for PoliticsHome.

“We need to come up with real solutions, not only because it is the right thing to do but also because it is a defining issue that is holding back Conservative support in under-40s voters.”

He added: “Brexit has consumed a considerable amount of the parliamentary time but as the negotiations progress, it is now right for the Prime Minister’s to bring her number one domestic agenda back centre stage.”

Mr Mann will propose a new system allowing aspiring homeowners to build their own home on a plot of land bought from developers who have already ensured the supply of energy, water and broadband.

The proposal will help break the power of the big six national housebuilders and allow developers to move on to new projects more quickly, he will tell the PM.

“Holding land on balance sheets maybe good for shareholders capital but it is not good for human capital,” Mr Mann said.

'BOLD' POLICY

South West Devon MP and former government whip Gary Streeter will meanwhile urge the Prime Minister to change the definition of affordable housing in the planning system to boost 'Rentplus' schemes.

The model allows people on housing waiting lists to buy their home after five, 10 or 15 years of renting with 10% gifted as a deposit.

He told PoliticsHome: “Our message to the Prime Minister will be clear: our view is that a bold and inclusive housing policy can focus the Government’s domestic agenda and support her aim to giving people a step onto the property ladder, as well as much-needed offer to the under-40s.”  

Meanwhile, Totnes MP Dr Wollaston will argue people who own second homes for holiday lets should be forced to pay council tax instead of small business rates to help boost council coffers.

Also in the group are former Downing Street policy guru George Freeman and a string of parliamentary private secretaries to Cabinet ministers.

They include Kevin Hollinrake, an aide to Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Huw Merriman, an aide to Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey, and James Cartlidge, an aide to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Rebecca Pow, who serves on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, and Richard Bacon, who serves on the Public Accounts Commission and backs the self-build plots plan, will also be present.

'RIGHT TO BE ANGRY'

In a speech in March the Prime Minister said young people were “right to be angry” about being unable to buy homes.

"I want to see planning permissions going to people who are actually going to build houses, not just sit on land and watch its value rise," she said.

"I expect developers to do their duty to Britain and build the homes our country needs."