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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Tories count the cost of nurturing their blue wall seats

When Rishi Sunak made the decision to scrap house building targets in the face of a rebellion from backbench MPs, he did so in the knowledge that many apparently safe Tory seats in the so-called blue wall, were under threat from a vocal electorate, keen to preserve green spaces and protect their own property values.

As the Independent reports, the change made a centrally determined target to build 300,000 homes a year a “starting point” or “goal”. Councils can propose building fewer homes if they faced “genuine constraints” or would have to build at a density that would “significantly change the character” of their area.

Unfortunately, the new policy has a number of downsides. Chief amongst them is that it perpetuates the housing crisis in the overheated economy of London and the South East of England, effectively pricing many thousands out of possible home ownership, and reducing the number of affordable and social homes for rent.

Sunak may consider that a small price to pay if it keeps his backbenchers happy and helps his party hold onto endangered seats, but there is another downside for the Tories, donations from developers have dried up.

The Independent says that property developers that have donated millions of pounds to the Conservative Party are “on strike” because they say that the party is blocking new house building.

The paper quotes the Home Builders Federation, who claim that housebuilding in England is set to fall to the lowest level since the second world war. It has accused the government of having “anti-development and anti-business” policies which threaten to dramatically slow development:

Rob Boughton, who runs one of the biggest developers in the southeast, Thakeham, said MPs should be “ashamed” for protecting “a vocal minority at the cost of so many”. Mr Boughton, whose company has donated nearly £1million to the party since 2017, wrote on LinkedIn: “What happened to creating opportunity? These small-minded, selfish people just don’t get it.”

In another post, he said: “What hope do the aspiring [first-time buyers] have? Do they care about 20 to 45-year-olds in this country or not?”

And the founder of one of the country’s biggest housebuilders Redrow described the government as “anti-housebuilding”. In an interview with industry publication Building, Steve Morgan, who has given more than £1.25million to the Conservatives, said: “It’s almost like the government wants to destroy the industry.”

The pair last donated to the Conservatives last October. Another Tory source told The Times: “They [the developer donors] are on strike. And is it any surprise? What a way to spit in their f***ing face.”

It seems that Sunak can't win whatever he does.
Sunak is only interested in keeping his party together.As a result he is at the mercy of this or that group in the party.Which ever way he turns he is a loser.

As for ourselves can we design a policy where the builders get more incentive to build social/council housing for rent where the rent goes to develop the councils facilities, where builders continue to make reasonable profit.
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