Everybody agrees we need more housing, but it is at that point that consensus generally breaks down.
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Labour leader Ed Miliband had been expected to announce the conclusions of his party’s review of housing policy, which is being carried out by a former Birmingham City Council chief executive Sir Michael Lyons, during his now notorious party conference speech.
In this case, the opposition leader didn’t forget his lines – he didn’t have any as the report had failed to appear.
Prime minister David Cameron meanwhile burnished his party’s Thatcherite credentials as the party of home ownership by announcing a new initiative to provide starter homes for first-time buyers.
However, Mr Cameron’s announcement does little for those in the most acute housing need. Those supplying the new starter homes will be exempt from the normal planning requirements that a percentage of all new development should be earmarked for affordable dwellings.
The plight of those in the greatest housing need has been thrown into sharp relief with the publication of research by the homeless charity Crisis into councils’ poor treatment of the single homeless.
But we also show how authorities, amid the most brutal spending cutbacks the sector has suffered since the second world war, are still finding ways to help the most disadvantaged members of society.
However, as Oxford City Council deputy leader Ed Turner (Lab) reminds us, the housing crisis won’t begin to be solved until central government grasps some difficult nettles about where it should be located.
LGC view: More housing is a starting point