3rd June 2019

No place like home

There might have been a quick succession of housing ministers over the past few years, but that hasn’t meant that housing has been entirely off the agenda during Theresa May’s stint as PM. As the search for her replacement heats up, we cast our eye over some of the former Prime Minister’s achievements when it comes to housing. 

During her first speech to Conservative party conference as leader, May promised to put housing at the heart of her agenda. Following the 2017 General Election where former housing minister Gavin Barwell lost his Croydon Central seat, Barwell was invited to become one of May’s closest advisors and has been credited with influencing many of her housing policy announcements. 

May announced several high-profile policies, including a further £2billion for social housing. A new Housing Infrastructure Fund and grants for housebuilders to develop small sites were also promised during her leadership, however perhaps she will be most remembered for her pledge to lift the “borrowing cap” from councils, allowing them to borrow from the government in order to fund new housebuilding. 

Recognising the changing landscape of the housing industry, May also introduced legislation aimed at speeding up the planning system, passed a bill to raise the quality of living standards in the growing private rented sector and announced a consultation on ending “no fault evictions” in a bid to signal improved rights for renters. 

Theresa May was also the first serving Prime Minister to appear at the National Housing Federation conference – could this pave the way for her successor to also follow suit? Kit Malthouse’s scheduled appearance at Housing 2019 while running for leader could certainly prove interesting, although he is regarded as one of the more unlikely prospects to be the next Prime Minister. We can only hope the other candidates are listening!