We do not need an alternative speech; we need to look only at Labour in government in Wales. Let us look at Labour’s record on housing there. Labour has failed to boost house-building starts by a mere 1% as compared to 19% in England.
Labour in Wales hit the housing market with extra red tape, adding £13,000 to the cost of building a new home in comparison with England. Labour has cut the right to buy, abolishing it completely in parts of Wales. Labour has failed to introduce support for new home buyers. Their new-buy scheme will not start until next year.
Whether it be in England or Wales, Labour’s economic policy could be summed up, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, as “If it moves, tax it; if it keeps moving, regulate it; if it stops moving, subsidise it”.
What is different about policy in Wales. National policy mandates code 3 as a minimum for all homes, not just social housing.
The HBF claculates the cost of this as £2,900 per typical semi detached lot, without considering any capitalisable benefits from lower energy bills.
There was a consultation that ended in October last year on how to implement zero carbon standards from 2015, a white paper with detailed impact assessment is due this year with draft changes to national policy wales later in the year.
This is exactly the same position as in England as the DECC as recently reconfirmed its committment to some form of zero carbon standard from 2015, though we await with baitred breath its exact form. Is pickles now saying we should not have any energy standards in new homes at all.
There is a genuine debate in Wales over whether a national enhanced standard will depress housebuilding in more fragile regions, but not policy conclusions have yet been reached. Where does Pickles get his £13k figure from?