“To understand Conservative thinking on housing policy, it is worth scrutinising some of the reports produced by their favourite thinktank, Policy Exchange. A 2010 report on making housing affordable argued that “social housing increases child poverty, mental health issues and inequality of opportunity and wealth”. It described the future of social housing as one that should focus primarily on the long-term severely disabled, with the rest of social housing let solely on the basis of residence and time spent on a waiting list. The report also called for new tenants in social housing to be denied a lifetime tenancy but put on “path to ownership” – exactly what is being proposed in the voluntary deal knocked up between housing associations and the government last week.
“A 2011 Policy Exchange report on growth in cities called for section 106 agreements – which enable councils to demand the building of affordable housing in new developments – to be scrapped altogether. That is the direction of travel of today’s announcement by Cameron.
“The author of both of these Policy Exchange reports is a policy geek called Alex Morton. Where does Morton work now? He is based in 10 Downing Street, as a special adviser on housing and planning policy.
“That is all you need to know about today’s announcement.”