I gave my maiden speech in Camden Council last night in defence of hope and opportunity in the face of Camden Labour’s assault on home ownership.
Camden Labour proposed a motion condemning Right To Buy – a policy that gives millions of ordinary people that would otherwise never be able to buy their own home a chance to own a slice of their community.
The Government has rightly proposed extending Right To Buy to tenants of Housing Associations. As Camden Conservatives’ Housing Spokesperson, I was delighted to propose an amendment to Labour’s motion detailing the success of Right To Buy.
Right To Buy was first proposed not by Margaret Thatcher, but by Labour in their 1959 manifesto, which I quoted last night: “Every tenant … will have a chance first to buy from the Council the house he lives in.” This seems like an unequivocal commitment to spreading the opportunity to own one’s own home – it’s a sign of how far left of their forebears Labour are that they now oppose the policy.
Camden Labour – like the national Labour Party – don’t seem to understand the goal of providing social housing; the aim is not to put more and more people into social housing, but to reduce the long-term need for it, so that more families can stand on their own feet. That’s what Right To Buy does.
Sadly, Labour see the sale of one council home as a ‘loss’ of one home – as if homes not owned by the council don’t exist. But when the Council sells a family their home, they continue to have a roof over their heads, while the Council now has additional resources – albeit slightly discounted – to provide homes for more people, who desperately need a home. That’s win-win.
Labour bizarrely suggested that government has no right to erode Housing Association’s ‘private property’. But given construction by Housing Associations is subsidised by the government – with most of the funding for the existing stock coming from central government – this argument is disingenuous at best: particularly from a party that sees nothing wrong with proposing a swingeing ‘Mansion Tax’ on private homes!
I was particularly astonished that the recently-departed Cabinet Member for Housing – who proposed the motion – didn’t seem to realise that Housing Associations received this funding!
All Conservative councillors voted for my amendment in favour of Right To Buy. Sadly, all non-Conservatives – including all Labour councillors and both Lib Dems and Greens – voted against.
Fortunately, there’s still one party in Camden that supports hope and opportunity for all our residents – and that’s the Conservative Party.