The much-discussed Housing White paper might be more than just a policy update, it could in fact signal a major change in philosophy for the Conservative Party. Bear with me here.
I am guilty of leaning on the same easy analysis time and time again, and it goes something like this:
- The Conservatives want to tie up the 2020 re-election right now.
- In previous decades ‘Right to Buy’ schemes have created many new Tory voters, people who, for the first time, were able to buy their own home.
- Repetition of that empowerment will deliver new voters for a Tory Government in 2020.
In the 1980s Margaret Thatcher, as Prime Minister, gave council tenants the right to purchase their homes, so when David Cameron announced that a similar scheme would be part of the 2015 manifesto it was welcomed by die-hard Tories. It was also hailed as a Thatcherite move which had been otherwise missing from the Cameron administration.
It has been suggested that the much-anticipated Housing White Paper is going to include measures to encourage many different tenure types. For a Party, which has, for a while now, considered ‘home ownership’ a central part of their philosophy, this will signify a huge departure from previous campaigns.
The politically more cynical among you may consider that while she is facing Jeremy Corbyn across the Dispatch Box, Prime Minister May need not be overly concerned with how to win the 2020 election, this gives her the luxury of focusing on fixing problems rather than playing politics.
Whatever the reason, the Housing White Paper could be seen in future years as a significant evolution in Conservative Party philosophy. We are asking, will the Housing White Paper be as significant for the housing industry as it could be for the Tory party?