Grant Shapps has set out a series of radical new housing policies that will promote social opportunity and neighbourhood pride.
The measures, outlined in a major new policy paper, will provide England’s four million social tenants with genuine social mobility, and will restore pride to rundown housing estates by helping to encourage social responsibility.
The paper, entitled ‘Strong Foundations’, will also ensure that local homes are built for local people, with the community – not bureaucrats in Whitehall – having the final say on the homes they want.
The proposals include:
Rewards for good behaviour - tenants with a record of five years’ good tenant behaviour will be offered a 10% equity share in their social rented property, giving them a direct financial stake in the state of their neighbourhood
A ‘Right to Move’ - a comprehensive national mobility scheme that will allow good tenants to move to other social sector properties
Supporting the low-cost housing sector – measures will include strengthening shared ownership schemes so that those on intermediate incomes can part-own their home
Local Housing Trusts - villages and towns will be able to create entirely new community-led bodies with planning powers to develop local homes for local people, provided there is strong community backing
Breaking the monopoly on empty government property - local people will have new powers to demand the selling of empty or under-used government property
Stopping the Whitehall imposition of unwanted development - regional planning will be scrapped, enabling councils to revise their plans to protect Green Belt land and prevent the unwanted imposition of so-called eco-towns
Grant, the Shadow Housing Minister, said, “In the 1980s, the Conservative ‘Right to Buy’ gave the opportunity for millions of families to get onto the housing ladder and transformed housing estates by creating mixed communities. Thirty years on, we will build on this.”
And he stressed, “We need social housing that promotes opportunity and social mobility, rather than reinforcing welfare dependency. And we need a compassionate housing policy that recognises the need to house the vulnerable and tackle the soaring waiting lists under Labour.”
David Cameron added, “Houses are not really like every other investment. While houses may have a price, homes have a value. We need to kick our addiction to house price volatility and concentrate on making sure we build enough homes so that every community can meet its housing needs.”
Download 'Strong Foundations', our housing policy paper