Young, wild and rent free



Young, wild and rent free


Is housing the key to winning the next General Election?

Don’t panic — Theresa May has not called another election. Nor has one been called out of no-confidence. Though neither seem like unrealistic scenarios.

I’ve simply been thinking… (it does happen sometimes).

So, we already know that housing is one of the UK’s biggest political issues – for all parties.

But housing, particularly owning a home, is historically associated with Conservative thinking and policy. Spearheaded by Margaret Thatcher’s vision of cultivating a property-owning democracy.

And 40 years later, at a time of ‘Generation Rent’ – is Maggie T’s legacy still relevant, more relevant, or is it time we stop fixating on homeownership as an ideal and pursue something different? So many questions…

Well, if the Conservative Party is serious about winning the younger vote and it wants to remain in Government, it shouldn’t turn its back on homeownership just yet.

Now, it is all well and good promoting DCLG to MHCLG, cutting stamp duty for (some) first time buyers, along with a collection of other reforms. But in the grand scheme of things, these reforms are humble at best and superficial at worst. O, to be an optimistic thinker.

But seriously – the facts are this: homeownership amongst young, middle-earners has ‘collapsed’ over the past 20 years – particularly in London and South East, where it has halved – according to a recent article in The Times.

This is supported by figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which found just over a quarter of those aged between 25 and 34 earning between £22,200 and £30,600 – the middle 20 per cent of the income scale – own a home.

Similarly, the British Electoral Study recently disproved the idea of a ‘youthquake’ at the last election. Instead, the shock result was caused by the increased turnout of disillusioned thirty-something voters. The same people struggling to move from ‘Generation Rent’ to homeowners.

5ce37e48-9752-4dfb-b7eb-3ca8db6cad36So, after taking these stats into consideration, I was left with this: if the Conservative Party loses a generation of aspiring homeowners, will it lose a generation of voters too?

Of course, there is a way to avoid such eventuality. And here it is…

The Government needs to rise above the shallow attempts to ‘woo’ younger voters (like cutting tuition fees) and appeal to the mid-twenty to mid-thirty-something voters by helping them onto the housing ladder.

Not simply by skimming off the top of stamp duty for whatever % of first time buyers, but by ambitious policy – like building more homes in places these people want to live.

Doing so could translate into a huge portion of votes. It would also help revive the party’s elderly and stuffy image. A win-win surely?

Given that this age group broadly voted remain – indicating a pro-immigration, inclusive mind set — is it too far to suggest they’d also be pro-development?

During my time in community engagement, it is rare you find people of this age range who are against development. Generally, they’re ambivalent to it.

So, surely this is another reason to get them onside?

Transformative housing policy would be much easier to implement (and therefore appealing to politicians) if there was an identified group of support.

And finally – the wave of younger support would give Nimbyism a force to be reckoned with. Even our resident Nimby and Prime Minister Mrs. May, couldn’t choose green fields over thousands of votes – right?

You’re welcome Mr. Javid and Co.

Have a great weekend.


This week at Curtin&Co
This week Curtin&Co was delighted to be part of the project team that secured consent for over 130 apartments in Watford on behalf of NL Property. The scheme will include 19 family-sized apartments for affordable and social rent. Congratulations to the whole team!The week ahead

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And Finally…

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Curtin&Co specialises in the fields of Community Consultation and Political Engagement, especially around development, and Reputation & Crisis Management.

Curtin&Co has grown rapidly to a team of over 20 highly qualified political, community engagement and reputation management specialists, having been founded by Tom Curtin in 2009.  In 2016, Curtin&Co was delighted to be listed in PR Week’s Top 150 Public Relations consultancies at number 86 and in the Top 10 Public Affairs consultancies at number 8; a recognition of the quality of the service and growth achieved.

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