Travelled to London today to speak at the Defend Council Housing event at the TUC. All the major news channels had picked up on the event in their morning bulletins and this reinforced my view about it being an agenda whose time had come.
Since 1999 we have called for a change in Government policy on Housing to allow Councils to invest directly in their stock without the need to transfer and for authorities to be allowed to build new stock to tackle shortages. Having been a lonely voice in the early years before others started to join in it was exciting to now see us on the brink of getting the changes we had been calling for over the past 8 years. Its that thing again about circumstances conspiring to give an issue its day and that is certainly true in this case.
The new Government has a great opportunity to reconnect with its core vote by delivering for the 1.6m people on council house waiting lists and the millions more staying with their families because there is no affordable social housing available to them. My slot was to try and explain housing finance and how alternative options could be funded, I think I just about managed this as I don't think the audience were the type to suffer fools gladly if I had failed. We had a good debate after I spoke and its a good feeling to know that APSE is in direct dialogue with No 10 on this issue.