How the Conservative Party would house the homeless
The present rate of repossession is 100 homes per day. Each of these repossessions represents tragedy and trauma for all those involved. The stress endured in house moving is said to approach that of bereavement and divorce. The sad reality is that it also probably contributes to increased incidences of both. And the rates of homelessness are set to soar over the next few years as more and more people are made unemployed and families are increasingly unable to meet their mortgage payments.
In a manifest declaration of common sense, the Conservative Party has pledged to regenerate and bring up to one million of these empty homes into full use, instead of pursuing Labour’s policy of building three million new homes by 2020 – many of which are being built on greenbelt land. In his ‘Empty Property Rescue Plan’, David Cameron has pledged to ‘suspend’ rules and regulations which currently prevent housing associations and developers from rescuing such vacant properties in order to make them habitable. The Conservative Party would also ‘relax’ the statutory guidelines which govern design and standards.
But if these statutory requirements may be ‘suspended’ or ‘relaxed’, why not abolish them?
What is the point of upholding laws which were designed to protect people from living in ‘draughty’ or ‘cramped’ conditions, when the practical outworking of such laws is that many are deprived of a home altogether?
It is the task of a righteous government to repeal unrighteous law. Anything which disproportionately hits the poorest and most vulnerable of society - hindering social mobility and diminishing social justice - must be rigorously scrutinised and, if necessary, repealed.
Cranmer can think of little that is more absurd than upholding a statutory system of anally-retentive building regulations which results in 4.5 million people being made homeless.