Politics is a strange game - spin and rhetoric with little truth to be seen - politicians just don't say what they mean these days. The Prime Ministers Speech on 4 October 2017 was no different:
"So I will dedicate my premiership to fixing this problem - to restoring hope. To renewing the British Dream for a new generation of people. And that means fixing our broken housing market."
Here is what I imagine is really going on inside the PMs mind:
Wow this is a big problem, no way I can fix it, not in the time I'm going to be afforded here anyway - time for a vague promise. I need to be seen to be aspirational, everyone wants to own their own home because in the last 30/40 years it's one of the best investments you could make - but frankly most young people don’t have a chance, most are dreaming… I digress. I'll fix the market - boom - there that should get a round of applause!
While I jest there was an encouraging sign, identifying and talking about the link between the ratio of prices to earnings - bringing these back in line between a 4/4.5 ratio in the longer term should be a key policy driver in my book. And let’s not forget £2bn for affordable housing, ok a babiest of baby steps forward, but better than nothing I suppose.
However, in reality, this just does not even come close to the mark, particularly when you see statistics recently published in the Mayors London Housing Strategy Document stating there are 90,000 children living in Temporary Accommodation in our Capital and 1/50 Londoners is homeless.
Please Prime Minister, go back and think again.
£12bn into affordable housing as a minimum please, (that’s 30k homes a year better but still not enough) scrap right to buy, find a way to get our councils building a minimum of 100k homes a year nationally and start talking about modular homes and off-site construction. Its real, and is the only way we are going to build enough of the right quality housing to fix this. Hey, with the right policy you could even drive a home-grown industry and encourage young people into careers in housing and construction again.
Finally, while you at it Prime Minister - a word of advice if I may - please admit that you (this is not a personal attack, no one could) won't solve the problem in the short term, that it will take 20 years of policy continuity and hard work from a wide range of people to undo decades of under supply and develop a balanced the market in the medium to long term without creating boom and bust in the short term.
The sooner our politicians stop continually overpromising and under delivering and start being honest regarding the seriousness of the housing situation the better. Who knows it might even be a vote winner!