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Democracy is on the line if young people feel unable to get on the housing ladder, housing secretary Michael Gove has warned.
Gove, who was speaking to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, said: “It’s a barrier to young people feeling that democracy and capitalism are working for them.
“It’s simply harder for us to make that case if people who’ve got broadly ‘small c’ conservative values, or actually no particular political agenda at all, feel that they’re being shut out.”
“If people think that markets are rigged and a democracy isn’t listening to them, then you get – and this is the worrying thing to me – an increasing number of young people saying: ‘I don’t believe in democracy, I don’t believe in markets.’”
The housing secretary said he was doing all he can to persuade Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to put housing high on the agenda at the upcoming Spring Budget on March 6th – which raises the question as to whether the conservatives could directly build supply.
Gove added: “Every day I send him [Hunt] a note or a message emphasising the importance of doing more to unlock housing supply.”
Sam Mitchell, CEO, Purplebricks, responded to Gove’s comments.
He said: “The problem has been compounding since the mass sell-off of council houses in the 1980s, without another initiative to offset the longer term impact for housing stock in the UK.
“With rents skyrocketing, it has been increasingly difficult for first-time buyers to save for a deposit. As a result, we’re seeing young people live at home with their families for much longer and fewer first-time buyers.
“If the government is really serious about tackling this issue, as the Housing Secretary appears to suggest, it must be clear about its commitment to build new homes, including a mass social housing building programme. This will free up the private rented sector as well as normalise rents and housing choice for tenants.”
Separately, Gove promised that the ban on Section 21 evictions will go through this year, ahead of the general election.
This is despite the broken courts system making it a lengthy and expensive process to evict a tenant any other way.
Gove said: “We will have outlawed it and we will put the money into the courts in order to ensure that they can enforce it.”