Council housing’s brief Spring

Red Brick

There are not many words of praise for former housing minister Grant Shapps in the pages of Red Brick. But in comparison with current minister Brandon Lewis, the tenure of the coalition’s first housing supremo now almost looks progressive and enlightened. We don’t know if Lewis regards his Housing and Planning Act, just given Royal Assent, as his crowning achievement, but he must know that if his colleague Shapps offered the prospect of a new Spring for council housing, the Act will ensure that it quickly turns into a chilly Autumn.

Shapps’ achievement was to ensure that the deal under which council housing became self-financing, started by Labour minister John Healey, actually came to fruition only two years after the coalition took power. Admittedly the deal wasn’t as good as Healey’s would have been, but many were surprised that it was done at all and Shapps brought reluctant Tory councils…

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