The prime minister certainly wasn’t dancing around the issues at the Conservative Party conference, even if her dancing did leave a lot to be desired at times.
Starting off with one of her better moves, despite reasserting the Conservatives as the natural party of home ownership, Theresa May underlined the shift towards a more tenure-neutral housing policy by pledging to scrap the cap on what councils can borrow to build new homes – something unthinkable just two or three years ago.
Given the serious shortfall of affordable housing across the UK, allowing local authorities to start building again can only be a good thing and will help take some of the pressure off the private sector and housing associations.
Yet in vowing to end ‘freedom of movement’ and promising tighter restrictions on the flow of European labour, May threatens to do serious damage to the construction industry and push us into purchasing modular units from European firms, or even those further afield, which will surely erode tax revenues.
Meanwhile, the additional stamp duty on overseas buyers is more likely to deprive developers of an important source of finance rather than boost the Treasury’s coffers or help out first-time buyers. Perhaps May’s ‘Global Britain’ won’t be all that global.
Ed Fowkes, development director, Prosperity Capital Partners