Oh yes they will! Oh no they won’t! The political housing pantomime

200,000 homes will be made available to first-time buyers in England by 2020 if the Tories win the election – according to David Cameron of course!

The ambitious claim follows the coalition government’s previous announcement to provide 100,000 cut-price homes for people under the age of 40. The PM says the Tories will double that if they gain power, to give more people the security of owning their own home.

Labour naturally disagrees, saying that the plan was inadequate and that affordable rented schemes would lose out as a result. Ed Miliband says that the current government had presided over the lowest levels of house building since the 1920s and home ownership was at its lowest level for three decades. Speaking recently in Brighton, the Labour leader stated that there would be "no greater priority" for an incoming Labour government than housing.

Political Housing PantomimeThe Federation of Master Builders claim that the Conservative Party plans are a welcome ambition but needs to be delivered by a range of builders to ensure good quality design and diversity.

Chief Executive of the FMB, Brian Berry says “the FMB supports the ambition of the Starter Homes policy to improve options and affordability for first time buyers. This is a model which can be made to work, but it will be important to make sure that it is delivered by a wide range of builders operating at different scales and that most of the Starter Homes built are additional to those which would otherwise be delivered.”

“Taken together, announcements on housing set out by the Conservatives over the last few days amount to a welcome set of proposals. The continuation of more relaxed rules on home extensions until 2020 will support extra work for small builders and provide them with greater long term business certainty. What’s more, these proposals are good for home owners as they give them greater freedom to improve their properties with the consent of their neighbours – it should be recognised that by and large these arrangements have worked well.”

“Moves to earmark brownfield sites for the delivery of custom built homes could significantly increase opportunities for small builders, leading to more homes and greater choice. We are pleased to see the Conservative Party taking important steps like these to support smaller builders. We hope that focus will continue and that these policies will draw the support they deserve.”