David Cameron will wrap up the Conservative conference today by talking about the “long term” part of his “economic plan”, dubbing the 2010s a “turnaround decade”. In the first sign of what he sees as part of his legacy, the Prime Minister will pledge a “national crusade” to build homes in the hope of transforming “generation rent” into “generation buy”.
The Tory leader is giving himself an ambitious task, as the rate of housebuilding has remained stubbornly around 150,000 homes a year (152,940 permanent dwellings completed in 2010/11, and 140,850 in 2014/15). However, he hopes to get Britain building – fulfilling his pledge of 200,000 “starter homes” – by having developers build affordable housing to buy, rather than to rent. But will this be enough to help Britons onto the ladder? Shelter estimates that someone would need to make £50,266 a year, or £76,957 in London, to buy a starter home.
Success as the “party of home ownership” could leave Cameron a powerful legacy, as previous Conservative leaders have found. When Harold Macmillan was given the task by Winston Churchill in 1951, as his housing minister, of building 300,000 homes a year, he was famously told: “It is a gamble—it will make or mar your political career, but every humble home will bless your name if you succeed.” His success helped keep the Tories in power for the next 13 years.
The Prime Minister will be setting out what he wants to achieve in his final five years in office, and has made clear he will be off in 2020 – telling LBC “10 years is a long time…and I think after that people will be ready for somebody new”. This hasn’t stopped the leadership beauty parade, with Boris Johnson and Theresa May laying out their competing stalls yesterday. “What an odd contrast,” thought Michael Deacon. “Winter then summer in the space of an hour.” Iain Duncan Smith has called for calm, urging ambitious colleagues to “get it under control”, and now it is up David Cameron to show his party the plan he wants them to get behind.
“We can make this era – these 2010s – a defining decade for our country. The turnaround decade.”
Three Isn’t The Magic Number
The Conservatives’ tax credit reforms will teach parents that “children cost money” and discourage them having a third child, Iain Duncan Smith has said.
Softly, As I Leave EU
Britain has nothing to fear from leaving the European Union, Chris Grayling has indicated as he said the country would “prosper” whatever the result of the In/Out referendum. Mary Riddell writes in today’s paper that both the Prime Minister and Labour will want Britain to stay in the EU, explaining: “If the EU referendum is lost, or narrowly won, the PM and his heir presumptive are finished, and Labour’s vision of social democracy will turn to ashes.” Meanwhile, the Times reports on a secret plan to deport hundreds of thousands of failed asylum seekers from Europe.
Wage Against The Machine
Middle class white collar jobs in the financial service and law are at risk of disappearing because of the new living wage, David Willetts – the head of the thinktank behind the policy – says. The former Tory minister, and now executive chairman of the Resolution Foundation, warned that these jobs could be eventually “routinized” by computers because of the new basic hourly pay rate, which comes in next April.
There Goes My Euro
Lord Mandelson has conceded that it would now be pointless for Britain to join the euro, after years of campaigning for the country to adopt the single currency.
Carry On Doctor, Abroad
Three quarters of junior doctors say they will leave their jobs if changes to their contracts go ahead. A poll of more than 6,000 trainees found just one in four claims they will stay in post if controversial Government reforms are made.
Met Vs Beeb
Scotland Yard has accused the BBC of undermining its investigation into historical child sex abuse, claiming that the corporation’s actions risked deterring victims from coming forward.