The Govt is at it again, trying to shift the blame for the shortage of houses and why their vision for new towns in the countryside isn’t working. This time it’s Treasury minister, Liz Truss, picking a soft target apparently with the bonus that it will attract young voters to the Conservatives. The Times (8th Feb) reported a speech by Ms Truss in which she condemned homeowners as “the worst vested interest.”

In response, Great Chesterford resident Richard Pavitt wrote to The Times, as follows:

Sir,

Does Treasury Minster Liz Truss really think that sounding like a member of Labour’s Momentum wing is going to win Conservatives the support of young voters?

She believes the Tories must attack the vested interests of homeowners who criticise Conservative-led councils for urbanizing the countryside. Apparently homeowners are “ the worst” – worse even than the vested interests attached to the massive donations received by the Conservative party from landowners and developers – amounting to more than one third of the corporate donations received by the party prior to the 2017 election. Young voters aren’t stupid. They know donations have strings attached.

If Ms Truss wonders why not enough new houses are being built she should look in the party’s own backyard and  demonize the vested interests that are short supplying land and depressing build-out rates to keep prices high.

Homeowners aren’t blocking local development to protect property prices. They are acting because developments are in the wrong place and for the wrong reasons. They fear what will happen to road congestion, schooling, medical resources and much else especially when developers walk away without honouring their obligations and councils don’t have the resources to enforce. The massive cuts in funding to local authorities has directly impacted many councils’ ability to develop workable Local Plans. Instead of due diligence and obtaining maximum community benefit, councils take short cuts and accept developments promoted by Landowners or developers that very often are not fit for purpose. Unsurprisingly, people object. The Govt must learn not to shoot the messenger.

This report about a development near Coventry also takes issue with the minister. Click here: Why Liz Truss is wrong

The article in The Times, 8th Feb –