The Conservative party has long been the self-styled party of homeownership, believing that if more people own the homes they live in, it’s better for them individually and better for the nation as a whole.
In the 2019 general election, the Conservative manifesto said that ownership was among their ‘most fundamental’ values’. Today, as the housing shortage becomes more and more profound and damaging, and the Tory party seem to be failing to increase supply and thus back up their claims to consider ownership the most important thing of all, Michael Gove, the newly appointed Secretary of State for so-called Levelling Up, has announced a further £58 million for new homes.
The money has been pledged, not yet delivered, in order to facilitate the construction of new homes on brownfield land, especially in areas that require regeneration and where the most people are in need of a home.
Gove says that the money will fund 5,600 new homes to ‘boost local areas by transforming unloved and disused sites into vibrant communities for people to live and work, with the demolition of unsightly derelict buildings and disused car parks and garages’.
It is hoped that this move will ensure that Britain’s Green Belt land will not have to make way for new homes, a suggestion that has been met by fire and fury from conservationists.
Michael Gove said:
“We are levelling up and backing home ownership in every corner of the country, delivering new high-quality, affordable homes and creating thriving places where people want to live, work and visit.
“Making the most of previously developed land is a government priority and it will help protect our cherished countryside and green spaces.”
Ross Counsell, Chartered Surveyor and Director of GoodMove, said:
“The government has this week pledged £58m to councils to build new homes on brownfield land, with the aim to create “much needed new homes and regeneration across the country.
“Average UK house prices reached a record £267,687 according to October’s Halifax HPI. Therefore, the funding sees the government take a step in the right direction to create an equilibrium between housing supply that fails to keep up with demand.
“Previous government schemes such as the First Time Buyers scheme optimistically aimed to help buyers get a footing on the property ladder. However, they instead further upset the supply and demand balance. This saw many of the first-time buyers and lockdown savers unable to compete with rising house deposits.
“However, when looking deeper into the fine print, around three-quarters of the DLUHC’s [Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities] money is pledged to councils in London and the South of England. This seems unfounded, considering house prices have slowed in these areas, yet have increased dramatically in northern areas such as Yorkshire and the Humber.
“Despite this, the scheme is promising in it hopes to regenerate some of the UK’s derelict areas and solve the housing supply issue across the country. Hopefully, if the government can fulfil the 5,700 new homes pledged, we could see house prices begin to stabilize in the future.”