Housing minister Grant Shapps MP kicks off a seven part series of articles by Conservative MPs, each discussing the Coalition's policies to get more people into good homes. Follow Grant on Twitter.
It is simply not acceptable that people in an advanced, civilised society can go without one of the most basic human needs: that of a roof over their head. That homes can lay dormant and empty. That tenants on six-figure salaries can keep the vulnerable out of social housing. That houses can become less affordable, not more. That the property ladder can be pulled up, not lowered. That housing waiting lists can lengthen, not shrink.
That is the reality and that is Labour’s housing legacy. Housebuilding plummeted to its lowest peacetime level since the 1920s. The number of affordable homes available fell by 200,000. The number of First-Time Buyers collapsed to levels not seen since the 1970s. Local authority waiting lists nearly doubled. And whilst the 2005 Labour Manifesto promised home ownership would rise ‘by another million to two million’ by 2010. In fact it fell by 260,000.
But perhaps we should not be surprised. Ed Miliband has admitted that social housing wasn’t important to Labour: ‘We refused to prioritise the building of new social housing’. And Ed Balls confesses Labour got it wrong on housing: ‘Labour’s plans were too cautious… [we] got it wrong... We were late in recognising the importance of building more homes and more affordable homes’.