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Bright Blue, the independent think tank for liberal conservatism, and Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, have today published an essay collection, Home advantage: a new centre-right vision for housing, with 16 contributions from top MPs and thought leaders  – including the Secretary of State for Housing – together creating a fresh centre-right vision to resolve the housing crisis in the UK. 

The cost of owning or renting a home is as high as ever. Our broken housing system is contributing to the economic and political malaise the UK has been experiencing recently. Fixing it should be one of the Government’s priorities.

This publication seeks to renew the conservative mission on housing, providing a blueprint for current and future decision makers. This book comprises four sections, each consisting of essays to resoundingly make the case for housing as a key tool in advancing four conservative goals: security, community, stewardship and conservation.

Along with the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP – who has written the forward for the essay collection – contributors include: The Rt Hon Damian Green MP, John Penrose MP, Shaun Bailey MP, Selaine Saxby MP, Jo Gideon MP, Nicholas Boys Smith (Co-Chair, Building Better Beautiful Commission), Toby Lloyd (Chair, No Place Left Behind Commission), and many more.

The Rt Hon Michael Gove, Secretary of State, commented:

“Every single person in this country, no matter where they are from, what they do or how much money they earn, deserves to live in a home that is decent, safe, secure and affordable. Along with the campaigners and political colleagues who have contributed to this thoughtful collection of essays, I am more committed than ever to building a modern, radical and successful conservative housing policy that works for everyone, whether they rent or own.”

Ryan Shorthouse, Chief Executive of Bright Blue, commented:

“A Conservative Government, now in power for 13 years, needs to make genuinely affordable and appropriate housing – of all different types of tenure – accessible to a much wider proportion of the population, especially younger generations and those on modest incomes.

“There is no silver bullet to fix the housing crisis. But, without bold and urgent steps, the housing situation in this country is only set to get worse, to the detriment of the national interest and the very survival of the centre-right. We need new, radical solutions now.”

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter, commented: 

“The housing emergency is robbing hundreds of thousands of people of a safe and secure home, and undermining the future of local communities from Cornwall to Northumberland. Private rents are skyrocketing, over a million households are stuck on social housing waiting lists and homelessness has almost doubled in the last 10 years, but time and time again housing gets left off the political agenda. 

“The government needs to start listening to the growing range of voices calling for bold action on housing, an issue that will be critical at the next General  Election. Access to a decent home is as vital as education or healthcare. The only way to make sure everyone has a home they can afford to live in, and one that allows them to thrive, is for the government to prioritise housing and build a new generation of good quality social homes with rents tied to local incomes.”

In total, our contributors offer over 60 policy recommendations. Contributors may not necessarily agree with the policies advocated by other contributors. Key recommendations include:


  • Commit to an additional 90,000 social homes a year.
  • Look to extend the standard contract length of tenancies to up to three years.
  • Extend the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector.
  • Decentralise planning power to those locally elected to give them the final say – justiciable if erroneous in law – to refocus the planning system on increased development rather than planning gain.
  • Offer Stamp Duty reductions for people downsizing out of under-occupied family homes.
  • In the new National Planning Policy Framework, create a class that promotes specialist housing for older people. This could be accompanied by a requirement to allocate a percentage of new housing for this class on larger developments. 


  • Councils in left-behind places should be granted a one-off post-pandemic reallocation of historic council debt from local to national government to allow local authorities to invest in their own communities. 
  • Create a genuine, reformed Community Right to Buy to tackle extractive ownership and take back control of assets of community value.
  • Reform the compulsory purchase system to provide a fairer balance between landowner compensation and public benefit. 
  • Introduce a new Infrastructure Levy to compensate areas with lower land values and protect the supply of truly affordable homes and community infrastructure. 
  • Deliver a registration scheme for short term rental properties to allow local authorities to monitor short term rental properties in their area. 
  • Energy efficiency improvements are, currently, only required in long term rentals – this needs to be levelled with short term rental properties to ensure landlords are not favouring short term rental properties used as holiday homes.


  • Extend the rollout of the homelessness prevention duty to every local authority and introduce a model akin to the No Second Night Out initiative,  to be adopted universally to help. 
  • Introduce ‘Build Up Not Out’, which allows anyone who owns a home in a town, city or urban area to redevelop immediately, provided they follow their local council’s design code. 


  • Introduce visual design codes to promote gentle densification and provide planning certainty. 
  • Encourage the government to release unused brownfield sites directly to be used by local authorities.

John Penrose MP, former United Kingdom Anti-Corruption Champion, commented: 

“Britain’s housing problem has been brewing for ages. This is because, for the last few decades, we have not built enough new houses.”

“This does not just increase poverty by making the UK a less affordable place to live, particularly for lower-skilled and lower-paid families, but it also skewers opportunities by making working-age people less able to take any life chances that come their way because they are – understandably – unwilling to move from low-cost to high-cost parts of the country without a big pay rise. Furthermore, it unfairly hits poorer children in short-term rented housing by disrupting their education and support networks if they have to move house and school more often than their better-off classmates.”

Nicholas Boys Smith, Co-Chair of the Building Better Beautiful Commission, commented: 

“We must dare to ask communities what they like and how they wish to live. We need to keep it simple and make use of the exciting possibilities for digital engagement. We should aim to create the conservation areas of the future.

“We must find a middle way between the extremes of lumpish blocks crammed into a small urban site on the one hand and low-density sub-suburbs on the other.”

“Fortunately, there is an answer that often works: gentle density, a network of beautiful streets and squares, of mansion blocks and terraced and semi-detached houses anchored around real middles, a village green.”