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In yesterday's speech he talked about the need to incentivise local communities to embrace housebuilding in their backyards

Barmy. Already 47% houses built in the S/East are in gardens ie greenfield sites.

We have a Govt punishing Councils if they do not give builders even more leeway. Is the idea to build megacities of cloned houses across the nation ?

Maybe they should ban executive homes in favour of condos - the water usage and land wastage of all these detached homes is bizarre. Maybe underground car parks should be mandatory in place of individual garages.

The fact is there are too many houses empty in this country - 4500 in this city alone but you cannot be one minute "green" and let developers take gardens and trees into their profit stream.

TomTom - not literally in backyards but figuratively as in building a pwer station in your backyard ie in the neighbourhood.

Our emerging policy seems to be about moving away from Prescott's high density developments, which experience has shown leads to crime & anti social behaviour plus increased complaints about neighbours (after all if you don't share a paper thin wall but are separated by a garden the volume on the TV is less of an irratant).

Smaller & better develoments scattered across communities, detached or semi detached with space for gardens are what people want. What they are offered are ever smaller homes with a few yards of grass if lucky.

The UK's new housing stock is smaller than even the Netherlands. Why? because most people don't want any developments - that has to change. Its not about building megalopolis but freeing up development around villages, towns & cities for affordable quality homes.

Before anybody starts developing such plans they should think about this:

The UK's population problem


"OPT researchers have concluded that a population of 30 million may be the largest that the UK can sustain in the 22nd century if it is to be largely self-sufficient in clean energy, if continuing damage to local and global environments is to stop, and if its citizens are to enjoy an acceptable quality of life. This research is in part based on the techniques of ecological footprinting, but the key factors determing the need for population reduction in the UK and worldwide are climate change and energy requirements."

Oh, I inadvertently used the word "think" - apologies for that.

"Its not about building megalopolis but freeing up development around villages, towns & cities for affordable quality homes."

Unfortunately, with the housing numbers proposed for the South East, the development around villages, towns and cities will lead to coalescence between villages and towns - ie it will result in megalopolis.

Instead of just trying to supply an ever increasing market, we need to tackle the demand side by, for example, tackling family breakdown or reducing immigration.

And we need infrastructure first.


Problem with forecasts are the unknowns - will fusion project bear fruit so clean energy supply is resolved. Malthusian forecasts of maximum population are notoriously inexact.

Mark Steyne has an interesting article in the Aussie press about the disappearing West - with aging population and lowering birthrates we might possibly head towards 30 million in a couple of generations. Then we can knock down the high density proto slums of the early 21st century and rebuild large detached properties if of course we haven't lost huge areas to the sea :-)

Quality of life and demand today are the immediate issues. Its what needs to be done for the next 10 to 20 years to make sure we have the right policies, planning regulations and standards to meet the needs of todays citizens. We need to consider how we make homes more energy & water efficient, how we introduce local generation & maximise green sources of energy so we leave a better inheritance to the next but any forecasts of a century hence are pie in the sky.

Sorry - seem to be posting a lot on this but in rsponse to Deborah the following is in this weeks Salisbury Journal
"FARM sites and farm buildings could offer a solution to the housing crisis facing rural communities if they are reclassified from green to brownfield sites, says the influential Country Land and Business Association.
The association has welcomed a new report from the Affordable Rural Housing Commission, saying it is the "beginning of the end for fossilised rural communities."
The commission report calls for thousands of affordable new homes to be built in the countryside to stop the rural way of life disappearing forever.
It says just six new houses a year in each rural ward would solve the problem and they could be built without destroying the character of the countryside."

Note its just 6 new houses in each rural ward - would bring back families to villages rapidly becoming a mix of second homes & retired.

Hang on a minute. The argument above goes:

(i) We need to make houses cheaper.
(ii) The way to do this is to increase the supply by reducing the population, i.e., we need to reduce immigration.
(iii) The reason we need to make houses cheaper is because the population is dwindling.

Anyone spot the gap in the logic?


Much of what you say is correct, but the starting point must be a population policy. Do we want the UK population to continue to rise, from 60 million, to 70 million, and so on up indefinitely, and if so do we think that is so important that if necessary we will import millions of people to supplement our own reproduction? Or would we be happy to see the UK population decline gradually, so that future generations will enjoy a lower population density and a more sustainable future?

The Optimum Population Trust cite a recent YouGov poll according to which seven out of ten people believe that Britain is already overcrowded, and with some justification as "England's population alone reached 50 million in 2005, making it the fourth-most densely populated country in the world with a staggering 998 inhabitants per square mile, if small island and city-states are excluded - even more crowded than Japan."

Personally I don't necessarily accept that for long term sustainability the UK population needs to be as low as 30 million - maybe 45 million would be low enough. However I don't think 60 million is really sustainable (it's certainly not particularly comfortable!), and if there is to be any population policy it should be directed towards a very gradual reduction rather a continued increase.

I take Mark Steyn's point about turning a country into "an undertaker's waiting room", but a) he overstates his case (eg it's not true that "Spain's population is halving with every generation" - that would only be true if the parents died immediately after producing their single child) and b) we're talking about this country, not Australia or the USA where population density is much lower.

In fact as a letter in the Spectator points out, we used to have an official policy of discouraging large families. K R Housten writes from Edinburgh:

"Rod Liddle’s assertion (‘Our overpopulation is a catastrophe’, 12 August) that an ever-growing population fuelled by mass immigration is seriously debilitating our quality of life was spot on. But it also highlights the question of why we ever reached this state of affairs in the first place. When my three children were born between 1977 and 1982 — a period which took in both Labour and Conservative governments — new parents were sent a missive from the local health authority stating that while family size was a matter of personal choice, Britain needed to have a population level that it could ‘sustain’. The underlying message was clear: don’t have too many children. A generation later, we are informed that the economy would collapse without a massive influx of immigrants, even though most of them do not speak English or have any capital to invest, and some of them actually wish to do us harm.

Why, then, was the indigenous population of 25/30 years ago encouraged to limit its families, when it could have made up the shortfall in the current workforce without any of the cost and social unrest that has come with mass immigration? Perhaps a politician with experience of government at the time — your new columnist Lord Hattersley, for example — might care to provide an explanation."

That question has crossed my mind, and one explanation is quite sinister.


Our economy and welfare system are built on the basis of a rising population. A falling population will destroy the core institutions of the 20th Century state (pensions, government health care etc). Maybe that's a good thing in the long run - but it won't be a comfortable ride.

Talking about encouraging population decline is madness and will bring disaster, as it has in every civilisation that has undergone a decline in its population.

"The bottom line objective for the Conservative Party must be to reduce house price inflation. David Cameron was clear that that required greater supply of housing...."

We cannot build enough houses a year to seriously impact price. Price is determined by the existing housing stock. Prices of the existing stock are mainly determined by fiscal policy- interest rates, lending policy, money supply. We cannot build our way out of this problem and we cannot afford the infrastructure cost.
We need to tackle the demographics of family breakdown, immigration and more older people living alone.

I don't think many of us would object to 6 houses in every rural ward. However the current plans for the south and east call for over a million new homes. The plan is for major urban extensions which will cause rural settlements on the outskirts of towns to coalesce and disappear.
The emerging regional plans are available on the regional assemblys' or Regional Government Offices' (e.g GO-East) websites

I love this quote from Cameron reported on the BBC
"But nor do they want to be overwhelmed by a rash of ugly, insensitive developments built on the back of some bogus consultation."

Ted - thanks for your clarification !

The problem is house prices and they have exploded under Labour's easy credit policy - after all PFI has led to money being channelled into property projects thus raising labour rates, and the falling stock market has made people invest in bricks and mortar with hope of capital gains.

It may be that we should follow the US system as charge CGT on homes with an offset if the money is re-invested in a home within 2 years of sale.

It is prices which are outrageous and with land prices forming 20-50% house prices it is not always the land that is causing the problem.

We have a reservoir site being sold as "brownfield" though it is rural - and first time around they wanted 200 houses on it - now 48 - and these homes will be at least £350.000 each if not £500.000.

There is no more capacity on GPs or schools, the sewers are overloaded, and there is only one road out of the "village" ie commuter suburb - yet none of these factors are taken into account when planning as I found out at the Inquiry with the developer's Barrister present.

Prince Charles does have better idea for proper villages with post offices and shops - but we are being delivered hard-standing for cars, hypermarkets, distant hospitals, centralised GP clinics, distant fire stations, absent policing, and lelandi hedges to soak up all the groundwater

What are the figures when you strip out immigration?
That is the far more important issue and statistic.
Any-one got the figures?

I'd support a small number of houses in every rural ward to provide affordable housing for local people and help revitalise rural communities. However, I am a little nervous about the report you quote:

"FARM sites and farm buildings could offer a solution to the housing crisis facing rural communities if they are reclassified from green to brownfield sites, says the influential Country Land and Business Association."

A reclassification would not simply allow small local developments - it would radically increase the potential and incentive for farmers to sell off their land to developers.
I'm sure the Country Land and Business Association can see major benefits but I'd be very worried about how such a drastic change would affects our agriculture and rural communities.

Household and poulation projections based on current trends can be found here

I have no figures for immigration but The East of England Plan states that 40% of the half a million new houses proposed (ie 200,000 new homes) are to cater for in-migration ie people moving into the area.

That could mean immigration from abroad, people moving out of London as a result of immigration or people moving from other parts of the UK - eg down from the North.

This won't solve the affordable housing problem.

The press release here shows senstivity to various demographic factors including immigration

According to these statistics if there was zero net immigration the housing demand would drop from 209,000 house a year to 144,000 over period 2003-2026

The official figures are based on net 130,000 immigrants per year

"The bottom line objective for the Conservative Party must be to reduce house price inflation".

I am heartened that at last this aspect of the problem is highlighted. In a civilised society everyone should have a roof over their heads but, because we have too many people in a small island, the value of land largely determines the value of the property on it, so it is now regarded more as an investment than as a shelter.
In an ideal society a 4 bedroomed house occupying, say, 1800 square feet in Wales should have roughly the same value as a similar property on the outskirts of London. If it did, mobility of labour would not be a problem, nor would key workers have so much difficulty in finding a property in large urban areas.
It costs a certain amount to build such a house and the insurance value of the two properties in the above example would not differ much. However, the property owning population would be unlikely to vote for the tories if they decided to limit selling prices to the insurance value.
If I may use the phrase, house price inflation has gone through the roof under Nula; I understand that for the average homeowner, c40% of disposable income goes on the mortgage.
This is largely fuelled by lenders throwing money at buyers.
Would the tories consider reining in such profligate lending by legislating that house borrowing cannot exceed more than 3.5 times the main breadwinner's proven annual earnings? This might have to be introduced over a 5 year period.

Looking at the household projections in more depth they show of the 209,000 houses required each and every year from 2003-2026, 150,000 are for one person households and only 31,000 per year for married or co-habiting couples.

Nearly 3.5 million single person homes will be needed in this period based on current trends

In 1961 average household size was 3.01. It is predicted to be 2.10 by 2026.

More people are choosing to live alone. Why?
Is this good? Will we be building the right type of homes?

Gildas @ 10:28

"Our economy and welfare system are built on the basis of a rising population. A falling population will destroy the core institutions of the 20th Century state (pensions, government health care etc). Maybe that's a good thing in the long run - but it won't be a comfortable ride.

Talking about encouraging population decline is madness and will bring disaster, as it has in every civilisation that has undergone a decline in its population."

The madness is to assume that the human population of the UK, or of the world, can continue to rise without any limit. When would you finally start to think that maybe we can no longer depend upon a rising population as an essential basis for our economy and welfare system? That would have to happen eventually: if not at 60 million, at 600 million, or at 6000 million, or at 60000 million ...

Please could you cite some instances of civilisations that have met with disaster because of a gradually declining population? Clearly a pandemic which suddenly carries off a third of the population is itself disastrous and can have disastrous after-effects (although England recovered remarkably well from the Black Death), but when has a gradually declining population brought disaster?

I would suggest that more civilisations have met with disaster through excessive growth of population, than through a gradually declining population.

"The bottom line objective for the Conservative Party must be to reduce house price inflation."

Indeed. The notion that simply building enough houses to satisfy demand can tame house price inflation is dubious though. Consider the Republic of Ireland, where the highest per capita rate of house building in Europe has not reined in rampant house price inflation one bit. Might not the real cause be the easy availability of huge amounts of credit, and the mania for property as an investment? This would suggests that restricting the amount of money that mortgage lenders are allowed to lend to some sensible multiple of income, and requiring a reasonable deposit to be put down might be more fruitful. “Buy to let” must be addressed too – would-be homeowners, relying on income to build a deposit, are unable to compete with investors exploiting a nominal increase in the value of one property to provide a deposit for the purchase of another.

"One of the main imperatives for reducing house price inflation is the role that it plays in delaying family formation."

Based on figures above many more people are choosing to live alone in their own or rented homes.

Are you arguing that two such people choose not to live together in a family home because of availablity of a family home or the price? As they already have their own single person homes prices should not be an issue. Or are you arguing they want to own their own home as a prerequisite and a mortgage on a home exceeds their combined rent?

I am trying to understand the root cause of delayed family formation and I don't think the statistics support house prices being the cause despite the anecdotal evidence.


Most of the eastern European and other immigrants are not in a position to buy, and that's a major factor which has been driving the "buy-to-let" market.

There are supposedly 15,000 Poles in Reading, so where are they all living?

From what I've heard, it seems that most of them are living in (sometimes very) cramped rented accommodation owned by "buy-to-let" investors.

Similarly in Slough. This is only anectodal evidence, but it rings true.

The answer to the housing crisis, stop hoarding land! Take away all farming subsidies, let landowners sell their land on the free market. Hand the whole thing over to the 'free market' stop government, local authorities, busybody organisations like the CPRE, and all the other quangos sticking their noses in: simple.

Mr Willetts's thesis is subtle but somewhat fanciful. The best sort of contraception is of course the oral contraceptive, better known as the Pill. Failing that, baby-killing is a option that is increasingly favoured by women (and their men) who just aren't interested in raising children.

The letters in this week's Spectator are not irrelevant here, especially Mr Anthony Ozimic's.


Sir: In labelling Britain ‘overpopulated’, Rod Liddle mistakenly bases his assessment on densely populated areas such as London and south-east England, while failing to mention basic facts such as that there are more deaths than births in less densely populated areas such as north-east England, Scotland and Wales, and that the UK’s total fertility rate (1.77 children per woman of childbearing age in 2004) has been below replacement level (2.1) since the early 1970s. Mr Liddle cites ‘bulging school rolls’, yet the class of 2006 is a third smaller than the class of 1970, however overcrowded schools or classrooms may be.
Anthony Ozimic
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
London SW1

Let people draw their own conclusions!

Great idea!
Then, following hot on the heels of water, power and major airports, we can also sell off our countryside and means of food production to foreign companies.

Not my concern deborah, at the moment 65% of all rural income comes from the taxpayer, that is my concern. It is not up to me or anyone else to tell the 'market' what is right or wrong, the market will make its own decisions, I have to abide by those decisions. Thats what it means when you accept the discipline of the market. If of course if you are a socialist, then obviously you don't agree.

Read 'Saturn's Children' by Alan Duncan MP for further information.

I'd be interested to know how you define rural income?
As a Conservative, I disagree because the market is not perfectand I think it's important to maintain a modicum of control over our own resources and means of existence.

Yes, Oliver, but if there's a UK immigration policy it can only be set for the whole of the UK. There are chronic economic imbalances between different areas of the UK, with the result for example that young Scots tend to leave Scotland and so its population has barely changed since the war, while the population of England has increased by something like a fifth, and those economic imbalances need to be addressed. But immigration, which is the principle root cause of the present housing shortage, can only be controlled for the UK as a whole. That's unless we're prepared to put immigrants in work camps, or use some other means to prevent them from moving around the country. The Scottish Executive would like to set a separate immigration policy for Scotland to compensate for emigration, but they are not empowered to do that - they can only work within the UK policy, whatever that may be, if it exists at all.

What you propose would be anarchy not a free market. Short term profit making would distort long term benefits to society. The choices people make about housing are complex and not always under their control.

One of the roles of Government is to protect the weak from the powerful. One way this is done is to have a planning system operated by elected members.

Planning decisions must be made at a local level in an open transparent and democratic fashion.

Interesting deborah, so as a Conservative, do you believe that the last Conservative government was wrong to de-nationalise the public sector to the extent they did? Do you believe it is wrong for British Companies to purchase the utilities of foreign countries, they have and they do.

Rural income is apart from tourism, almost entirely dependent on the taxpayer in some form or another. I live in a village, I would say, that a least 25% possibly more of its inhabitants are receiving some form of financial support from the taxpayer, housing benefit being the most prominent. This is obviously due to the low wages etc paid to them through out their working lives. Many of them in agriculture, an industry which is in terminal decline. Just as mining and steelmaking disappeard, when the market turned against them, so now farming.

The small tenant farmer is financially insolvent, without subsidies they would disappear tomorrow. The larger farm owners, many of whom are wealthy, a receiving largesse from the taxpayer, sometimes running into hundreds of thousand of pounds per year. The land here is not of a high quality, most of it prior to the second world war, was not even farmed, it was too poor. Only financial support from the government on a massive scale, made it viable. It is time to return it to the free market, if you are a Conservative why do you love socialism so much!

After all the answer to those people who cannot, or will not, adjust to commercial reality, is the one given to rapterous applause by Lord Tebbit, 'My father was un-employed in the 1930's my father did not march, my father did not protest, my father did not riot, my father got on his bike and looked for work,' perhaps its time for people in the rural areas to find where the key of the bike shed is kept. Harsh I know but as Lord Lamont said' unemployment is a price worth paying.'

Arthur, Could you explain a bit more about how your free market would ensure the necesary infrastructure (schools, hospitals, roads, water, sewage, etc) was put in place to support green field developments when all planning restrictions are removed.
Are you saying the market would ensure people did not buy homes in such areas as they would be undesirable or would there be an obligation (tax) to ensure developments funded the infrastructure they demand.
I am interested in how a land without planning restrictions might function.
Do you have an example of where this has worked?

Yes, Norman Lamont did say:

"High unemployment is a price worth paying for lower inflation"

his predecessor Nigel Lawson having caused unnecessarily high inflation by cutting interest rates in his vain attempt to keep the pound "shadowing" the German mark, in preparation for Economic and Monetary Union.

Quite rightly that callous remark by Lamont cost the Tories many votes, as did a rather similar comment from Bank of England governor Eddie George that high unemployment in the north-east was “a price worth paying” for low inflation in the rest of the country.

It's OK talking airily about "unemployment being a price worth paying", when it's somebody else who's unemployed.

Just the point I'm making Dennis, how can you explain to people, whose industries were deprived of their subsidies, that their jobs were expendable, but others continued to receive their subsidies. If a subsidy is wrong its wrong, if its wrong for miners, steelworkers etc. its wrong for farmers etc. The tragedy of the subsidy, is workers live in a fools paradise, they start to believe that they are untouchable, the governments of the day will always protect them from market conditions.

As for the infrastructure etc. What are we saying here, that the market is always stupid, evil, predatory, rapacious, thats its never constructive imaginative, caring. No wonder socialists have an easy time of it if Tories constantly question whether the market will provide! Of course all of those things will be put into place, you wouldn't be able to sell your houses without them. This is not the ninteenth century, people like the radical Tory Joseph Chamberlain, had to municipalise Brimingham, because private industry was not interested in setting up an infrastructure. I don't believe that is any longer the case.

In the wake of two world wars it was inevitable that governments would become involved in many aspects of industry. The world is a different place, everyone in politics has to change. Socialists can sell the idea of the benign state, but not an interventionist one. What do Tories have to sell, if not the market? Or are Tories trying to outsell Socialists on the idea of the benign state, if so you will fail! Oh sorry society.

What no political party can seen to be, is in the grip of a vested interest. Labour was seen to be in the grip of the big industrial trade unions in the 70/80's and paid a price. If the Tory party is seen, particularly by the urban voter, as being in the grip of vested landed interests (as it is) it will suffer the same fate, well it already has done, 3 general election defeats, a possible fourth one on the way.

"I live in a village, I would say, that a least 25% possibly more of its inhabitants are receiving some form of financial support from the taxpayer"

Not a very useful statistic - I suspect it applies equally to urban and suburban households.

Dennis Cooper - spot on! It reminds me of a comment I heard from someone who, bemoaning the lack of workmen available to do some housing project for him, said that what we needs is a 'bloody good recession so that we can get some craftsmen'. Clearly, it wasn't he who was going to suffer under his wished for recession.

The point that is skirted on this thread is that housing costs are one of the best examples of supply and demand economics that we have. They're aren't enough houses, therefore demand exceeds supply, therefore price increases. As a 'free-market' Tory, my natural reaction is to say "so what, the virtuous market will align accordingly and we should let it take it's course". I find myself quite unable to support this position however.

I do not advocate that the government should intervenE in the pricing, but do advocate that they try and reduce the demand. The biggest problem facing this planet (not just the UK) is population growth and the damage to the environment that this does. We, and all the world, need a PLANNED population policy. (Or at least better education on what unrestricted breeding will do to the world so people can be informed and make responsible choices). Of course, no governement would dare do such a thing - the religious bigotry of too many religions would ensure that such a policy was strangled at birth. As always, it will be too late before anyone does anything.

"Just as mining and steelmaking disappeard, when the market turned against them, so now farming."

Just one small point: if push comes to shove we can manage without most things if necessary - but not food. Allowing farming to disappear - as you seem to recommend - would leave us entirely dependent on other nations and I think that might be a tad negligent.

It must be delightful to have such faith in the market but the real world is a little more dangerous.

"I do not advocate that the government should intervenE in the pricing, but do advocate that they try and reduce the demand."

It would be a start if the Government stopped demolishing houses and started renovating them; and talked up the benefits of life in the North rather than promoting ever more unsustainable growth in the South.
A bit of joined up thinking on demand management would help a lot.

After posting three times earlier tried not to comment but just a final posting:

House price inflation's underlying drivers are location and availability/cost of land . We can affect the latter by changing regulation. Current regulations defining greenfield or brownfield are driving wrong behaviours as regards land availability - example being infilling of residential areas. Land costs also mean that developers can only profit by either increasing density so lowering quality of life or by building premium housing.

England may well have a high density of population per square mile but housing is at higher density offering lower quality of life than in Netherlands (a close equivalent).

Smaller developments in around existing urban areas, villages & towns have significantly less impact on local infrastructure - the 6 homes per rural ward I quoted above actually mean that rural shops, schools etc are more likely to survive so less long car journeys to nearby cities. Mr Prescott's M11 corridor or Thames Gateway proposals are in areas already overstretched (as any driver to Stanstead can confirm) or areas with lower water supplies than nearly anyhere else in UK.

Scattered development means that schools expand rather than need to build entirely new ones, local commerce responds so shops expand or new ones move in when they see the opportunity. Increased revenues to local authorities means that road improvements can be made rather than new roads.

However in villages like the one I live in the NIMBYs (including myself at times) can stop any new developments. It would actually improve this village and many like it if we had another 20 or 30 good quality homes built - not at 20 per acre but similar to rest of village.

People don't like mass estates but present planning regulations mean thats the most likely outcome as developments are restricted to within curtilages of current urban areas.

When I say farming is in terminal decline, I mean in its present form. There will still be farms and farmers, but it will be an industry radically different than at present. As for purchasing our food, that will depend as always on cost. We have always imported much of our food in peace time. In fact I would remind you that the greatest act of political integrity of all time was when the Tory Robert Peel, scrapped the corn laws. Laws which ensured that the land owners got fat and rich on what was the subsidy of its day.

The U boats have gone, they will never return. Buying food, like cars,textiles, energy, is a world business. Oh by the way, if our gas was cut off, all fertiliser production would cease, we would all starve anyway. You can't plan an economy on what could happen. If you did you would have so many safety factors built in, the economy would collapse. What would you have, five electrical grid systems cos' 'they' might attack one, six gas pipeline's ditto, everyhouse should be built with a bomb shelter and so on and so on.

was when the Tory Robert Peel, scrapped the corn laws. Laws which ensured that the land owners got fat and rich on what was the subsidy of its day.

In fact Ireland tipped the balance

However in villages like the one I live in the NIMBYs (including myself at times) can stop any new developments.

How do you do it......please explain ! I thought the appeals procedure can overrule the local council and render them liable for all costs............

Arthur 17.21.
If infrastructure can be left to the market perhaps you can explain the £6 billion infrastructure deficit in the sout-east and why developers fight tooth and nail against signing meaningful 106 agreements to fund infrastructure needs caused by their house building.
Every developer will argue it was not his development that generated the need for the bypass, school or hospital.
In the real world the market is not responsive enough to long term structural issues.

One related problem, which I hardly ever see mentioned is the housing benefit timebomb. There is a whole generation basically frozen out of home ownership and likely to rent for the rest of their lives. Which is all well and good until they reach 65, and still need to pay rent, which will have to be covered by Housing Benefit.

Arthur 17:54

O/T but while Sir Robert Peel was a Conservative PM when he abolished the Corn Laws it was at cost of splitting the Party. The leading Conservative Peelites who split off included Lord Aberdeen and William Gladstone and by 1859, under another ex Conservative Lord Palmerston, the Liberal Party was born. The Conservatives then were very much still the party of landed interests and property and so were distinctly non-liberal in economic terms. I think both the Liberals and Conservatives can lay claim to be inheritors of the liberal economic policies Sir Robert Peel stood for (especially as with the Liberal Unionists there was a transfusion from the Peelite tradition into this party of a good dose of liberal economics)

(this off topic history is much more fun)

So it isn't simply the case that the Whig party renamed itself the'Liberals' and the Tories renamed themselves 'Conservatives' then?

Never knew Gladstone used to be a Tory. Interesting.

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