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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Government tipped to reveal major housing policy changes today

Speculation was rife over the weekend that the government would today announce major changes to housing policy - possibly shifting the emphasis from David Cameron’s affection for home ownership to accepting substantial growth in the private rental sector.

Media commentators known to have been briefed by Conservative party officials say that today’s debate involving Communities and Local Government at the Tory conference may signal a shift in official policy.

Some newspapers suggested that housing minister Gavin Barwell may announce a ‘rent to buy’ policy - not unlike that suggested by the Liberal Democrats ahead of last year’s general election - and a renewed committment to Build To Rent, where institutional investors are encouraged to fund the building and then management of block of flats to let. 

Last week the government confirmed the end of the controversial Help To Buy mortgage scheme, a central part of the Cameron government’s pro-ownership platform.

Conservative MP James Cartlidge - chair of the Commons all-party housing and planning group and considered an influential figure on Tory policy making - wrote in The Guardian at the weekend that renting should be a larger part of the housing debate.

Remarking on Cameron’s pro-ownership emphasis, Cartlidge wrote: “I don’t think in doing that we recognise enough publicly that the extent of the housing crisis is not just about home ownership ... It’s about a lack of palatable options for huge numbers of people. 

“There are people who cannot buy or don’t want to buy, or it’s not realistic for a long time, and yet they’re still in the housing crisis. This crisis is the overall expense of all options, and therefore a response needs to have a multiplicity of tenures, and cater for those people in different circumstances.”

  • Daniel Roder

    Much will be said, plenty will be promised, little will be delivered on.

  • Jon  Tarrey

    At least Barwell shows his face a bit more than Brandon Lewis, but still this government is taking housing about as seriously as an episode of Miranda!

    With extreme pressure already on a bloated private rented sector, what do the government decide to do? Place even more pressure on it. Nice one. Brilliant idea. Top tomato.

    It's a good call to scrap the controversial and useless Help to Buy scheme - which has managed to help about ten people to buy a property in six years - but what will be put in its place? I read today that £5 billion is going to be pumped in to kickstart the construction of thousands of new homes. I shall believe that when I see it!

    "Conservative MP James Cartlidge - chair of the Commons all-party housing and planning group and considered an influential figure on Tory policy making - wrote in The Guardian at the weekend that renting should be a larger part of the housing debate."

    Can it be any larger than it already it is? How big will the PRS go? Maybe if some actual social housing was built there wouldn't be such a backlash against the buy-to-let brigade, who people see as greedy and in-it-for-themselves (fairly or unfairly). A number of politicians might be able to expand their portfolio, but young people and aspiring homeowners will continue to lose out.

    More tinkering around the edges from the government, who are too scared to take any actual decisive action. Move on, please. Nothing to see here.

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