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Tory guru questions social housing subsidies 12 June 2014 | By Jess McCabe Lord Finkelstein queries…

Tory guru questions social housing subsidies

An influential Tory peer has told Inside Housing he is not ‘convinced’ that the government should be subsidising the construction of social housing.

Speaking in depth about his politics and background, Danny Finkelstein, a close personal friend of chancellor George Osborne and former leader writer for The Times newspaper, said: ‘Obviously we have to have a subsidised housing system, and some people in the Conservative party believe that there is in fact a need for socialised house building, but I’m less convinced by that.’

He added that he did need to ‘study’ the implications of his suggestion.

Tony Stacey, chief executive of 3,987-home South Yorkshire Housing Association, said: ‘He isn’t the only one within the Conservative Party that holds that view. Equally, there are a lot of people within the Conservative Party now who do get what the function of social housing is and we need to work to change attitudes rapidly ahead of the general election.’

Lord Finkelstein does believe, though, that Britain should make housing more affordable by building more homes. ‘One of the things we ought to be doing as part of our housing policy is to reduce the cost of housing, and one of the ways to reduce the cost of housing is to build houses, and I think all political parties agree,’ he said.

‘It’s partly to do with planning, partly to do with developers and mortgages. Certainly we have a lot of space in Britain.’

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg on Monday said that state money should be used to support the construction of homes by councils and housing associations. 

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