Javid also supported so-called “street votes”, a framework devised by Policy Exchange, to give residents buy-in to the building; a form of housing development that creates opportunities for new buyers as well as current residents.
But the one candidate who was bullish on housing policy was also one of the few not to run in the initial ballot. There’s no doubt that MPs’ support for leadership is tied to many aspects of a politician’s promises (and Javid has already had several runs for the top job), but his honesty about the housing crisis will have hindered its support.
Since then we’ve had brief mentions of housing, with Tom Tugendhat also supporting street votes. Liz Truss said she would work for “clearer planning rules”, while Penny Mordaunt promised a task force to address the chronic undersupply of housing in the UK. But no one is seriously committed to catching up with the hundreds of thousands of homes that should have been built years ago.
Yes, the candidates will avoid making promises where they can, to leave themselves as much leeway as possible if they happen to become Prime Minister. But no one was afraid to come out and speak frankly about the tax burden – in most cases to say he would reduce it immediately, and in Rishi Sunak’s case to say why a slow and steady approach is the better.
But the housing crisis is as serious a problem as the tax burden; for younger generations, perhaps even more important. The tax burden is far too high and many reductions would be welcome to help with financial relief and revive the UK economy. But there’s no denying that even with a significant tax cut, most people who can’t afford to buy a home would suddenly be able to. These are huge sums of money needed to enter the market, and will be so as long as supply remains so limited.
Whichever two candidates make it to the Conservative members, they will need to prepare serious housing responses for the hustings. If they have a plan to build more houses, they should commit to it, so it is considered a priority for the next government. And if the plan is to toe the Nimby line, young voters deserve to know.