Text of my opinion piece published by the Daily Express - Thursday 23rd March 2023
I know that Express readers dream of a happy and prosperous life for their children and grandchildren.
These ambitions are at the core of the Conservative Party, which has always been the party of aspiration. Throughout our history, we have supported those who want to get on in life – to go out and get a good job, to save up to buy property, settle down, and have a family. Conservatives believe that we must create a framework in which individuals and families can succeed and business thrive. But our economy has stalled. A lack of economic growth means fewer jobs, fewer pay increases, and higher taxes.
In other words, it means that those of working age now cannot be certain that they will enjoy higher standards of living than previous generations. Young people in the labour force cannot be certain that talent and industry will pay off.
In England, the average house price is nine times the average annual earnings. Our failure to build enough well-designed new homes, particularly in cities, has pushed housing affordability to breaking point.
These issues are connected. The costs of our failure over decades to build enough new homes are not just isolated to the housing market. Our entire economy is paying a high price too.
In Policy Exchange’s excellent new report Homes for Growth, the relationship between the lack of new affordable housing and low economic growth is set out comprehensively.
The crisis, it argues, is serious, but the potential rewards for solving it are massive: £17.7 billion extra into the economy, a reduced housing benefits bill, more productive cities, and the opportunity for millions of young people to become proud owners of new homes.
I’ll never forget the sense of pride I felt when getting the keys to my own home. That is something I want as many people as possible to experience.
Policy Exchange’s report sets out a path for more and more of our young people getting to that place.
If we are going to fulfil the unlimited potential of this country, we must give young people cause to believe that, like their parents, securing a good job will enable them to buy a home of their own and settle down and have children.
These ambitions depend on us delivering more well-designed, affordable, and attractive homes.
So, let’s get building.