Another shift towards ‘as of right’ zoning?
iz Truss warned her party it must take on ‘NIMBYs’ today to get more houses built and cut prices.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury said the Tories must reform the ‘rigid’ planning system to make it harder for developments to be blocked by existing home-owners, who she described as ‘the worst vested interest we’ve got’.
Speaking to the Resolution Foundation think tank in London, she said this year’s Spending Review – setting out Government budgets for 2020-23 – is an opportunity for the Conservatives to set out a ‘popular free market agenda’…
Liz Truss warned her party it must take on ‘nimbies’ today to get more houses built and cut prices
She said the party should take a cue from market-leading brands like Aldi and Netflix, which ‘deliver what people want, when they want it at a price that they want’.
Joking that she was not calling on her party to adopt a strategy of ‘Netflix and chill’, Ms Truss said Tories must take a ‘ruthless’ approach to stripping back wasteful spending and tearing down barriers to getting on in life.
These include barriers preventing state school pupils getting into Oxbridge, difficulties female entrepreneurs experience in securing finance, and obstacles to building affordable housing for young people.
High house prices were among factors which had led to a 25 per cent drop in people moving to find work over the last 15 years, said Ms Truss, citing studies which suggested workers were missing out on £2,000 of salary as a result.
Conservatives must be ‘prepared to take on vested interests’, including ‘those who want to protect their existing privileges’, she said.
She added: ‘The worst vested interest we’ve got is existing home-owners who block development.
‘I think that is the biggest challenge we face – how are we going to reform the system when there’s a fundamental anti-development bias in our country?’
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury said the Tories must reform the ‘rigid’ planning system to make it harder for developments to be blocked by existing home-owners, who she described as ‘the worst vested interest we’ve got’
Ms Truss blamed ‘rigid planning rules’ for ‘house prices that are out of reach of many, many people’.
‘We do have to be prepared to take on those who don’t want a house built in the field next to them,’ she said.
‘The alternative is getting a public who … feel like the housing market is not responding to their demand, not because they are dyed-in-the-wool socialists but because they are simply frustrated. I think there’s a danger that people will support the Labour Party because they are so frustrated about the situation.’
She hailed liberal planning regimes in Tokyo, Vancouver and Germany which had cut back on bureaucracy and resulted in lower house prices.
Ms Truss – seen by some as a potential successor to Theresa May – said a shortage of affordable housing was driving voters into the arms of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour
People in communities like these would respond to a Conservative Party following the US mantra of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ and offering them control of their own lives and the opportunity to get on, she said.
‘I think if we advocate a popular free-market agenda, we can win over those parts of the country, we can drive up economic growth, we can create prosperity and give people a greater feeling of control over their own destiny and a greater feeling of pride in their country, their area and themselves.’