There are too many families in Britain who want to buy a home of their own – but are currently priced out of the market. It is one of the great social problems of our age, and we must rediscover the Conservative Party’s historic support for housebuilding if we are firmly to establish our position in the centre ground of British politics today.
In the nineteenth century Benjamin Disraeli made it a priority to clear the Victorian slums and fund new housing and sanitation for ordinary British workers. Later, in the twentieth century’s post-war years, Harold Macmillan was called upon by Winston Churchill to build a record amount of houses for the people. As Housing Minister he oversaw the building of an average of over 300,000 homes per year – an extraordinary achievement by any set of standards.
More recently there has been a number of very encouraging signs that we are moving in the right direction. News that the Government will employ direct commissioning to build thousands of homes should be greeted with much enthusiasm. These are homes for working families across the country and will contribute to a wider strategy of housebuilding and home ownership – and importantly, they will be homes that people want to live in.
Dr Spencer Pitfield is the Director of Conservative Trade Unionists. Read more of his article on Conservative Home.