The stage is set for Cameron and the Conservatives

Thursday 08 October 2015

In May David Cameron defied the polls and won the General Election, delivering a majority Conservative Government.

His campaign had two simple messages that resonated with almost 37% of the electorate. Firstly, the Conservatives told people that the economy was in good shape and Labour would threaten the recovery. Secondly, they argued that the Scottish National Party would hold a Labour-led government to ransom.

David Cameron’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester was therefore his first opportunity to address his party and the public as Prime Minister without the shackles of the previous Coalition administration.

Mr Cameron received 5 standing ovations throughout his speech as he set out how his Conservative Government would deal with poverty, discrimination and extremism. He showcased plans for a new living wage, reforming the prison system to reduce re-offending and how he wanted to boost social mobility.

Central to the Prime Minister’s plan is reward for hard work: “If you’ve worked hard and saved, I don’t want you just to have a roof over your head – I want you to have a roof of your own.”

Mr Cameron showed emotion and said, “When a generation of hardworking men and women in their 20s and 30s are waking up each morning in their childhood bedrooms – that should be a wakeup call for us. We need a national crusade to get homes built. That means banks lending, government releasing land, and yes – planning being reformed.”

He told the audience that the Coalition Government had built 600,000 new homes and 150 people a day are moving in because of the Help to Buy scheme. However Mr Cameron said, “…there’s one big piece of unfinished business in our economy: housing” and “A Greater Britain must mean more families owning a home of their own.”

Generation Rent to Generation Buy

Throughout the speech the Prime Minister championed the Conservative manifesto and in particular his party’s desire to extend the Right to Buy scheme to housing association tenants. He said, “Greg Clark, our brilliant Communities Secretary, has secured a deal with housing associations to give their tenants the Right to Buy their home.”

As a result 1.3million more families will be given the chance to become homeowners through the Right the Buy and the Government’s broader home ownership programme which includes Help to Buy, Starter Homes, planning reforms to get more homes built on brownfield, a Right to Build for people who want to build their own home, and re-focusing housing spending on low cost home ownership.

The Prime Minister questioned the much branded phrase ‘affordable homes’ calling it “deceptive” and announced “a dramatic shift in housing in our country.” He said “Those old rules which said to developers: you can build on this site, but only if you build affordable homes for rent……we’re replacing them with new rules… …you can build here, and those affordable homes can be available to buy.”

From looking at Conservative Party manifesto for the General Election this will mean 200,000 quality Starter Homes built over the course of the next Parliament, reserved for first-time buyers under 40 and sold at 20 per cent below the market price.

The Prime Minister reiterated that “economic success…It’s the foundation on which we can build a better society” and whilst Labour veer off to the Left with Corbyn and the Lib Dems are left to regroup the stage seems set for Cameron to put his plans into action and leave a legacy before he stands down before the next General Election.

READ DAVID CAMERON’S SPEECH IN FULL

Commenting on the announcements in Prime Ministers’ speech, Mark Hayward, Managing Director of NAEA said:

“Today’s announcement from David Cameron on his plans to build 200,000 new homes is good news, but it simply isn’t enough bricks and mortar to lift us out of the crisis we currently find ourselves in. And as always, with the word ‘affordable’ who actually defines what affordable housing is?

“We first heard this pledge in Cameron’s pre-election campaign, and we still support the sentiment. However, other initiatives such as the Help to Buy scheme still remains in place and it boils down to the fact that we are still waiting to see new homes being built; and whilst we wait capacity remains stretched, infrastructure is not in place and house prices continue to grow.

“Our latest housing report found that sales made to first time buyers (FTBs) fell to the lowest level since July 20141. One in five sales (20%) were made to FTBs in August, compared to 23% in July and 24% in June, indicating movement in the market is getting tougher and tougher. First time buyers have been squeezed out the market for some time; it’s taking young buyers longer to get their foot on the first step of the ladder, which in turn increases pressure on the rental market.”