Cabinet minister Sajid Javid admits Tory 'failures' on housing are putting Corbyn within reach of No 10

‘It’s no wonder that we see so many young people angry, feeling left behind. This is a clear injustice’

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Sunday 01 October 2017 14:00
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The Communities Secretary condemned the lack of housing as a ‘national outrage’ - and declared war on Nimbys
The Communities Secretary condemned the lack of housing as a ‘national outrage’ - and declared war on Nimbys

The Conservatives’ “failure on housing” is putting Jeremy Corbyn within reach of Downing Street, a Cabinet minister has warned.

Sajid Javid delivered an outspoken attack on his own party’s miserable housebuilding record, which he condemned as a “national outrage” for young people.

The Communities Secretary also risked a backlash from the Tory faithful by declaring war on “Nimbys” who, he said, “will never accept development”.

Mr Javid told the conference that, for his generation, “home ownership was something that, if you worked hard enough, you could afford”.

Now, in every high street, “you’ll see young people with their faces pressed against an estate agent’s window, trying, and failing, to find a home they can afford”.

“The opportunity my generation took for granted now seems lost to many.

“This is a national outrage.” Mr Javid said.

“And the biggest barrier to social progress in our country today. It’s no wonder that we see so many young people angry, feeling left behind. This is a clear injustice at the very heart of our society.”

Mr Javid said: “For decades, our planning system has failed to plan for the number of homes we need.

“There has been too much control given to those who will never accept development.

“It’s a mark of our failure on housing that the Labour Party, a party led by Jeremy Corbyn, is being taken seriously again,” he added.

The warning comes amid a battle as some Tories push for a huge housebuilding programme as the best way to win back support from younger voters who have flocked to Labour.

Others, however – often in safer seats – remain keen to defend the green belt and listen to traditional Tory voters who say “not in my back yard”.

In his speech, the Communities Secretary also promised a “complete rethink of our approach to social housing” following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

He named some Labour-led London local authorities as other examples where tenants were being “failed by the system”.

“Since the tragedy some truly appalling cases have come to light. In Camden, 1,000 fire doors inadequate. In Southwark, cracks in the walls so big that you could fit your hand in.

“All this in 21st century Britain. As Conservatives we cannot accept that. We cannot have a system that ignores people, that ignores their complaints, and condemns them to living in homes that are just not safe.”

Mr Javid also confirmed that private tenants will be given greater rights under new plans to crack down on rogue landlords.

All landlords will be forced to join an ombudsman redress scheme, which would give renters more power to challenge rip-off fees and poor treatment, he added.

The Government will also bring in new laws requiring all letting agents to be registered, ending current rules that allow people to operate in the role without qualifications or professional oversight.

And Mr Javid promised new incentives in the upcoming Budget to ensure landlords offer tenancies of at least 12 months, to provide greater security for tenants.

The package for tenants can be seen as a direct response to Jeremy Corbyn promising rent controls, more secure tenancies and more power to stop gentrification leading to “social cleansing”.

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