The UK's broken housing sector is Labour’s Achilles Heel, says property expert Jonathan Rolande

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Unaffordable housing is a problem in the UK

Jonathan Rolande

By Jonathan Rolande

Published: 23/05/2024

- 09:02

What does the run-up to the election mean for the broken housing sector? Property expert Jonathan Rolande shares his analysis

Sometimes what politicians don’t say is more interesting and important than what they do.

The date of the general election was announced yesterday as July 4, but make no mistake, the electioneering begun long before.

Keir Starmer set out his stall with six pledges although, so far, only one is a ‘pledge’ – 6,500 new teachers. The others are more ‘aspirational’ if you support him or ‘woolly’ if you don’t.

In fairness to Labour, it has been early to commit to ideas that could be stolen by the opposition or costed by them, and weaponised as an unfunded promise.

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This accusation has long been Labour’s Achilles Heel. But has Keir missed an opportunity to show a vision to repair Britain’s broken housing sector?

I think he has because, if elected, this is something that has long been the root of many problems that we now face.

Bad or unaffordable housing reduces aspiration, impacts the birth rate, pressurises family relationships and stops social mobility in its tracks.

It also promotes the politics of envy and fractures inter-generational relationships – see “OK Boomer”.

Jonathan RolandeJonathan Rolande is a property expert JONATHAN ROLANDE

But repairing it won’t be easy. It will take enormous political will to drive through new development in areas where it isn’t popular.

It will cost enormous sums of money if new affordable council homes are to be built. Perhaps that is why, rather than lay out policy, housing was covered within the catch-all ‘deliver economic stability’ pledge.

After all, that is what is needed before anything meaningful can be done at Government level. That stability itself may not fix the problem.

Jonathan Rolande is a property expert from the National Association of Property Buyers

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