Things are clear. The Conservatives have won a governing majority on a scale not seen since 2005, itself the largest Conservative majority since 1987. This means that the government will be confident of its ability to pass legislation without the confrontation or negotiation with parliament that has become almost normal in recent years.
What the prime minister chooses to do with that majority will be telling. From what we’ve seen so far, things are going to be interesting. The Queen’s Speech promised renters protection from no-fault evictions – a massive step forward for the many families in this country who live their lives in fear of being made homeless at the whim of their landlords.
Meanwhile Shelter has a plan to end the housing emergency, which is – as the PM likes things to be – oven-ready.
While both Labour and the Liberal Democrats are electing new leaders, the government will be readying their plans for what the PM has called a ‘One Nation Government’. Will it be the one to end homelessness?
Housing mattered in this election
From a national hustings on housing to the thousands of pieces of media coverage, housing was in this election every day. It was largely thanks to over 1000 supporters who became part of Shelter’s Housing Emergency Response Operation ensuring that candidates in 95% of constituencies heard about the housing emergency from their constituents. Every manifesto mentioned social housing, with our main manifesto asks agreed in full in Labour and Lib Dem manifestos – something that would have been unthinkable in 2017 and which will help ensure the prime minister knows that he needs to act on ending the housing emergency. Thank you for all your help and work to ensure housing could not be ignored.
Will the PM get housing done?
We provided an overview of the Conservative manifesto ahead of the general election that is still well worth a read. As the blog explains, the Conservative manifesto only makes a brief mention of social housing with a commitment that the forthcoming Social Housing White Paper will ‘set out further measures to empower tenants and support the continued supply of social housing’. This White Paper is where we need to see the oven-ready solutions coming through.
The manifesto also saw them bring forward their target for ending rough sleeping by 2027 to the end of the next parliament. They pledge to do this by expanding pilot programmes such as Housing First and the Rough Sleeping Initiative. But the government will need to understand that you can’t end homelessness without homes and this means stable, low-rent homes that only social housing can provide.
The early action on no-fault evictions is a good sign and we hope to see legislation that fulfils the scale of ambition needed. Another early sign could be how the government chooses spend £80 billion on infrastructure in the north. Will the Conservatives cement their blue wall by ensuring the social homes many of these communities need are provided as part of this infrastructure spending?
Who is new to the show?
One thing to consider with all the change in the House of Commons is that we have an awful lot of new MPs to pick up the fight. Many have experience working on housing before they were elected. One example is James Murray, the new MP for Ealing North, who was formerly London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing. On the opposite benches, Natalie Elphicke, a housing expert and co-author of the Elphicke-House report, which explored the role of local authorities in housing supply, has become the MP for Dover and Deal.
Their cross-party expertise will be much-needed. This Christmas, 135,000 children will be homeless and people will likely die living on our cold streets. If the PM is serious about healing our divided country then tackling the social corruption of our housing emergency will be where he needs to start.
Please join the fight to help us make sure he does.