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Graham Awards


Top Tories and Shelter release blueprint for rental reform

A Conservative-leaning think tank and campaigning charity Shelter have released a book of essays on renting and housing.

A statement from Bright Blue - which calls itself “the independent think tank for liberal conservatism” - says its work with Shelter takes the form of 16 essays offering “a fresh centre-right vision to resolve the housing crisis in the UK.”

The think tank goes on to say the 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 Housing Secretary Michael Gove MP – who has written the forward for the essay collection – contributors include Tory MPs Damian Green, John Penrose, Shaun Bailey, Selaine Saxby and Jo Gideon. 

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, comments: “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.”

Gove says in the forward to the publication: “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.”

And Ryan Shorthouse - the chief executive of Bright Blue - comments: “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.”

Recommendations from the different contributors include a call to build an additional 90,000 social homes a year, extend the standard contract length of private tenancies to up to three years, a short lets register, extend the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector, and stamp duty cuts to encourage down-sizing. 

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

  • icon

    Here’s my contribution to your book:

    Dear Gove, Bright Blue, Shelter, Gen Rant, Acorn, Labour,

    F ***.


    UK Landlords

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    In all honesty this sums up how bad things have got. The Tories and Shelter working together. Some government employees are or have been ex Shelter too writing policies.

    They will not solves anything. Just write silly essays. They commit to everything knowing it will take years to achieve and they won’t be around to do it anyway.

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    It appears strange to me, that Shelter and their partner, the UK government, cannot comprehend that by continually bashing private landlords the situation re housing will continue to get worse. Private landlords want a return on their investment, its the same for any other type if investing.
    If you make investing unattractive, investors will leave the market, resulting in less accommodation available, those seeking a rental suffer from lack of choice, and rents will rise. However, the reverse is true, if you give a property investor a trouble free decent return on the investment, then they will invest more thereby creating a wider choice of properties and the rents will fall. But i dare say that Shelter and their partners cannot understand this. Pity.
    I think i will invest on park benches, because many more will be needed to house the homeless in future years.


    You will still have a lot of council busy bodies interfering with your benches. Expect to need an expensive unnecessary licence, regular inspections, unlimited fines, and restrictions on who can use it. You will probably get done for not doing right to rent checks on people that sleep on your bench. So you will need to secure the bench.

    But the council won’t allow you to erect any sort of fence around it. So how about a permanent security guard. But beware new laws are proposed where employees can sue their employer if a customer insults them. So how will you control rough sleepers who can typically be drunk or on drugs insulting and hurting the feeling of your security guard?

    I don’t want to invest in Britain. It’s a very backwards place. I’ll invest in a pension and ISAs in foreign companies. Somewhere where there are sensible people with sensible policies. Labour are coming with a load more red tape and ideas for tenants’ security. Including those who have never done a days work in their lives. Property owners rights are not even a consideration.

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    Well that’s clear enough. The Gov have truly betrayed us - collaborators

    Ferey Lavassani

    just wait. Labour is coming.

  • John  Adams

    The end result is that private rental will be as rare as Hen's teeth. It is surely not difficult to understand that you are allowing tens of thousands of people to enter the country at the same time failing to even attempt to catch up with the existing shortage of housing.
    The lunatics will say oh there is a surplus of housing - which there is but these are in areas that are already deprived and over run with crime and unsurprisingly any normal person will not live in them. So these properties remain uninhabitable, and the majority of which require significant investment by Councils who simply don't have the money. Yet by simply supporting the private sector these homes could be bought back into use... Anyway if you are selling up, I suggest you tell the tenant that the local MP is to blame and tell the MP you have explained to the tenant why you are to blame for this as the MP and that they are going to house them.

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    If you share the same ideology as Shelter then you are not a Conservative, unless the Party has moved further to the left than the Labour party in which case there is a need for a new political party which represents the centre right.

     G romit

    .. I've been saying for a couple of years now the the current Conservative Party is left of Tony Blair's New Labour.


    Ellie, you have nailed the truth. The Consocialist Party has overrun all that the Conservatives once stood for. A third political force is needed now and maybe the only way to stop the rot.


    Thank you. We need a party whose members are intelligent, well informed, practical, economically prudent, honest and do not exclude the interests of certain groups, in particular landlords, from policy making.

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    This is absolutely laughable. Maybe I will write some essays on solving thrid world hunger - I never realised that would help but apparently if I do this, somehow the problem will be fixed. I’ll team up with an activist organisation which will make my message more useful. First paragraph:

    There’s not enough food in some parts of the world. Everyone deserves to have enough food, there needs to be more food and that food and is needed urgently. We’ve been making not enough food for too long. Something must be done.

    You’re welcome, hope this helps.

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    I responded got blocked or maybe too long or truth can’t get in the way, no worries.


    I have been blocked by Shelter too - its rather like a badge of honour :) They do not seem to like people drawing attention to the facts as it gets in the way of their rhetoric!


    I’m blocked by Shelter too for telling the the truth 🎖️

  • icon

    Just a lot of hot air, 90,000 new social homes a yr ? I doubt there will even be 10% of that built, all pie in the sky talk

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    In my opinion we need major building of two different types of high density social housing to reduce current shortages of family size housing in both the PRS and Social Housing sectors.

    Firstly social retirement housing. Small to medium size developments for the over 55s. It makes great use of small brownfield sites in locations with existing amenity and creates a supportive community for people who may otherwise be quite isolated. Good Council retirement housing is something people aspire to move into, not resist until the bitter end. Most people who move into a retirement bungalow or flat move out of a bigger house, which is then available for a family. My husband owns the ex matron's house on a Council retirement development of 16 bungalows so I have spent the last several years observing the community and talking to the residents. For many it improves their quality of life immeasurably.

    Secondly there needs to be far more accomodation for teenagers who need to leave home. If Councils built something similar to managed student halls for non student 16 to 21 year olds it would have numerous benefits. Currently a great many families are in the situation where they are suddenly entitled to an extra bedroom just because a child has reached 16. If they eventually get rehoused into a bigger house the likelihood is the child will leave home relatively soon and the family will then be under occupying the new home. Wouldn't it make more sense for the child to have the option of moving into purpose built accomodation instead of uprooting the entire family? Teenagers often do very unfortunate things to escape from abusive or overcrowded homes. Getting pregnant or getting sucked into criminal activity for example. Having a readily available option of moving into purpose built student style co living accomodation would reduce such behaviour. Very few of these teenagers would pass affordability referencing for the PRS so it would have to be Social.
    There would be no need for teenagers to get pregnant just to get housing. It would be cooler to go into the standard co living type. If the housing that was offered to young single parents was in managed blocks complete with a crèche and education opportunities (instead of a 2 bed flat goodness knows where) it would be a disincentive to get pregnant for many but a better chance of a decent future for those that did.



    Some excellent ideas here and, although more expensive, it beats my view that those young thugs who have already proven that they will never contribute positively to Society be euthenased on their third offence. I've not yet given up on my view but your idea might prevent more from joining my proposed Death Row.


    Hi Jo - my husband and I were having one of those "if you won the lottery" conversations and we identified two buildings locally we would love to buy and turn into studio flats for disenfranchised young people to give them a start in life.....Its the shame the powers that be do not have that much initiative and common sense. And further to the comments below it was just a lottery win wouldnt it be nice to help people daydream - I guess in this rather sad world no good deed goes unpunished ):


    I can imagine the mayhem is such places…They would need a police station attached to each of these buildings. I also think that communities in the UK are being destroyed by druggies and Chavs being housed with decent people. Is the way forward to build lots of Junkie cities where they can do as they please without harming people within good communities!


    I don’t think building homes for teenagers is the answer. It’s treating symptoms but ignoring the cause. Whenever I see these ideas, I always have the question “so who pays for this?”.

    As a society we should not be pumping money into quietly dealing with the issues caused by abysmal parenting. So we shouldn’t be incentivising teenage pregnancies with the reward of going to the top of the housing waiting list, and we shouldn’t be throwing ever more money at irresponsible parents who keep having children without ever having a job or doing even a half arsed attempt at raising their children well. If there was an offer of free housing for abused teenagers, then you’re incentivising teenagers to say they’ve been abused when they haven’t, and also parents who have raised children who are incapable of looking after themselves as an adult get the reward of the state giving their child a free home.

    Meanwhile, all the good responsible parents and families who pay their way would get even more money fleeced from them to pay for this toxic mess. The problem with the country becoming a nanny state, is that the population develop a huge learned helplessness.


    Jo I love you're ideas and in a perfect world they would readily work.
    Our society in many places is broken and our Government just sticks it's head in the sand. Look how poorly they have managed housing. It wish I could say that they had only been ineffective, but in reality they have been detrimental and shame on them for this.
    I do believe a commune as you propose could work, however this would need words such as earn a place and be responsible once there. It would need several wardens to guide and lightly enforce when required. I would also say that it could be paid for by these young people doing voluntary work such as litter clearing, removal of grafitti and gardening for the aged...the list goes on.
    We have to get away from giving away stuff to people and encourage consequences, responsibilities and be responsible for your own actions.
    Yes some people have a bad start in life but thy still know right from wrong.
    Supervision will be vital also, group mentality that turns negative is very dangerous.


    Steve - exactly. Break the cycle. Get the teenagers out of that environment and let them experience a better alternative.
    It wouldn't be free housing. Even 16 year olds have minimum wage entitlements and apprentice wages are only lowish for the first year.
    Moving an overcrowded family into a bigger family size house isn't free.
    Paying UC for a teenage single parent and providing her with a self contained 2 bedroom flat certainly isn't free.
    You're right that we shouldn't be throwing ever more money at irresponsible parents but under the current system that's exactly what the government will continue to do.
    Removing pregnancy as the only viable escape route reduces the problem longer term. If those meal ticket babies aren't conceived in the first place you have fewer feckless families in the future.
    A 15 or 16 year old doesn't have much idea about career opportunities, especially if every adult around them is living on handouts. I've certainly known teenage girls who have 2 alternative plans:
    get pregnant, leave school, get Council flat or
    leave school, get pregnant, get Council flat
    The idea of getting a job doesn't occur to them because their main aim is to escape from their parents home. The idea of having their own room in a child free, parent free managed student housing style environment would be far more attractive than having a baby and a Social Worker.


    Jo - seems I misread your post (I sometimes skim read) so apologies for that as it seems we are largely in agreement. I'm still not sure the idea wouldn't get abused but if it was done in a way that was not encouraging an increase in reliance on benefits that'd be great.

    Sadly there are too many people who think it's their right to live off the (forced) goodwill of others through taxation. In my view, if you can't stand on your own feet by the time you're an adult then you should remain your parents responsibility until you can. Of course this doesn't work when the parents main reason for having kids is a revenue stream.

  • David Saunders

    They seem to be living in some sort of parallel universe but if they were to just talk to those of us that were around pre section 21 in the 1970/80s they might begin to understand that when it is outlawed, private lettings will all but disappear. Why would they expect a property owner to let a 2 bed flat in London worth £400k plus when vacant, without a snowballs chance in hell of regaining vacant possession when wanted or needed thus reducing the value of the flat by at least 50% overnight.


    Section 21 was largely instrumental in improving standards in the PRS. Pre 1988 standards were often horrendous. Why risk providing something decent with no guarantee of getting it back?

    I left home in 1981 and moved into seedy bedsit land. As a 16 year old the only 2 options were an absolutely disgusting bedsit in a very run down house full of unemployed men or a less disgusting studio flat in a very rundown house with a live in landlady, numerous cats and 7 other bedsits occupied mainly by seedy old men. I actually lived there for 3 years until the Council rehoused me shortly before putting a prohibition notice on the building. When the single glazed window broke the landlady replaced the glass with cardboard. When the gas fire was condeemed she suggested I bought more blankets.

    Is a return to that style of letting what the government and activists really want? Without Section 21 and the ability to make a reasonable profit that's exactly what they will have left.


    Oh but Jo standards are now being improved with councils' licensing schemes. The new ombudsman will also help improve the standards of rented accommodation. What there is left of it.....!

  • icon

    Here's my ess*y:

    We need to build more truly affordable housing. Don't hand over responsibility to developers, who build for profit, this needs to be central Govt & councils building social housing. Then let those who want something more rent in the PRS from LLs who want to make a living providing decent housing to working tenants.

    Perhaps Gove will write me a forward.

    NB Ess*y is a spam or swear word & not permitted in comments!


    I agree wholeheartedly.
    Couple this with an obvious distinguishing between social sector and private sector reform, and you have the basis of a workable strategy that will satisfy all.
    I do think landlord's need to understand that investment is required from their end too though. Most (certainly on this platform) do but, speaking as an agent as well as a landlord, is shouldn't be underestimated that there are those landlords that hold their good tenants in contempt, and have a default mentality of 'blame the tenant' when anything breaks down. Not a good attitude.
    Just my view, but I genuinely feel this rush to sell up will prove a poor move long term. S21 going holds no fears for me and it shouldn't for others.
    There is a reason that corporates are seeking to enter the sector - money. Many landlords are shooting from the hip. Being a landlord (or as i call them - a home provider) is like life....you have to roll with the punches.

  • George Dawes

    If this doesn't prove that politics is a sham/scam/con , nothing does

    Rant at each other in the house then slap each others backs in the bar

    It's all a big act - and we're paying for it !!!

  • icon
    • 04 April 2023 10:52 AM

    The FUSION, DELIVERY and Customer protection unfair trading MISTAKE breach of good faith agreements. Tried and tested with comparables in a system failure, refusal to advise w

    The government's and in turn a system's failure by the power groups common law 'woke' policies are unlawful as breaches of the good faith agreements in the FUSED loop (implied statute + common law) in a wipe out of tenants never mind landlords in a 2 way analyses. The civil service and power groups have not produced evidence to show compliances with the law of the land Richard Heaton's FUSED loop or statute for customer protection.

    Landlords must lobby their MPS over 'woke' common law civil service landlord bashing practices. Investigations reveals that common law 'woke' Ideology Policies do not work and cannot be delivered as the top-industry solicitors admit to common law. According to Government's website Richard Heaton’s talk there must be fusion between (Implied statute + power groups common law) and implied has to be implimented for customer protection for tenants never mind landlords as in comparables or God's top-down plan


    Stop posting this cr*p.

  • icon

    We have too many people in this country. France has half the population density compared to us. We need to stop the influx of people into this country. Also allowing a higher density of people living in the same property, sharing the expenses would help.


    France is a good country to compare. Their ideas and housing standards are wildly different to ours. Not necessarily better or worse, just different.
    I've had a house over there for 19 years and had to rent an apartment for a year while dry rot was being dealt with.

    The buying process in France is great. Far more certainty at a much earlier point in proceedings.

    Consent for exterior building alterations is very transparent and straightforward. They don't seem to have a policy of objecting just because they can in the way UK planning departments often do.

    Rentals are interesting because they are often much smaller and more basically equipped than here. A kitchen often only has a sink. You are expected to provide your own kitchen cupboards and worktop. Double glazing isn't an automatic expectation. Heating may exist or you may need to buy your own heaters. While by UK standards it can look very cheap to rent in France you often aren't comparing like with like. The question really is do we need our standards to be quite so high or would people be happier paying a bit less for a more basic option?

  • jeremy clarke

    Last week we advertised a 3 bedroom house in Christchurch, over 40 enquiries of which I would say more than 50% really needed to be in social housing rather than looking in the PRS. Most had gov backing (universal credit & various other benefits) of more than £1500 a month, all were working part time! Money that we, as tax payers are paying, surely building social housing is the answer, if 20 people were housed in social housing that's 20 x £1500 a month that we would not be paying as subsidies!!??

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    Jo, my friend Section 21 didn’t improve properly but not agreeing it was bad, what it did do was make property available before which it was virtually nil,
    because if you let someone into your property they immediately became a sitting Tenant, so that didn’t work did it but we are being forced back there again by Mr Gove & Shelter.
    David Sandeurs is 100% correct even if I can’t spell his name.
    Property was generally very good and usually owned by a local family, of Course that was pre 1988 Act 35 years ago, the scum and the slum didn’t come until 26 years ago when Buy 2 Let Mortgage’s were made available. People buying loads of property in any condition in any Town often 100’s of miles away invariably at Auction, just ring an Agent to Rent it.
    Prior to this there was no such thing as individuals owning dozens or even hundreds of properties. Families took pride and maintained their let property.


    I remember very well when it was impossible for tenants to rent anywhere because landlords were not prepared to have sitting tenants.

  • icon

    I know exactly I was there and suffered it all, the only hope I had to get some degree of protection was to let to a Ltd Company I had those as well even Blue Chip.
    Do you want to know how much it was to Rent a 5 bed house was in Ealing back then ?
    £400.00 per month I still have documents.
    The threat of a sitting Tenant meant no one would buy.
    Therefore prices were low hence no Market and only a handful of letting Agents in London, Andrew’s were the exception.


    It was still possible to let for fixed terms that way, but nobody let to people who wanted to take the property for their lifetime and the lifetimes of their children, too.


    A problem now is that many people don't remember those times. I remember what letting was like in the 1960s, 1970s and the 1980s.

  • icon

    It would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.
    Are those type of people in Government and in tax free Charity’s or escape from the looney asylum.
    Ok they want one private individual to work his nuts off to put a big lump sum down on a property rap £500k loan around his neck and that’s no exaggeration in London, not get a house for that either, pay income S.24 tax on the repayments. Get a HMO do all the compliance work, services & appliances certification’s.
    Comply with 150 pieces of legislation, be on call 24/7 responsible for emergency and maintenance, be classed as a Criminal a dart board for every one.
    So we are supposed to do all this for another private individual a stranger to call all the Shots and assume control of your property.
    Something seriously wrong here they definitely need to see a shrink or we do.
    I wouldn’t even expect Diane
    Abbot to come up with something that daft.


    If you want to see Diane Abbott on Youtube search: "Diane Abbott MP Grilled Over Rental Housing Crisis & Illegal Viewing Charges | Good Morning Britain".

    She was on TV saying "a bad landord" is someone who serves a S21. Also puts the rent up every few months. Politicians and she especially have no idea what they are talking about.

    A few weeks ago someone on here was trying to explain S24 to their local MP an they couldn't understand how it worked. They are all idiots.


    Nick the woman shows her ignorance, we haven't been allowed to charge any kind of letting fees for sometime now, rents we can only increase once per yr, and sec 21 costs us so is only used when there is good reason to do so, do people really listen to this foolish woman's rants ?


    No need to tell me Andrew. But the general public who are just homeowners feel for renters and their security. Renters care a lot about it and everything else. The landlord is just the devil!


    Nick, my phone no ends in 666, it gets some laughs, I must be the Devil


    As an evil greedy landlord I expect you asked for a 666 number.

  • icon
    • B L
    • 05 April 2023 01:44 AM

    Build more dormitories for the medical doctors, military personnel, teachers, firefighters...etc., those
    who need to be close to the work;
    Build new housing sell only to those who don't have any properties, low income but stable employment, can not resell it for 10 years;
    Improve social housing standard and to sell at a reasonable price, this was achieved in early 80s by Margaret Thatcher, was a great success. No more improper rental management by councils;
    Our children leave home at much younger age compare with the families in Asia, we need more social workers and temporary places to accommodate those who in need.
    Stop wasting the tax revenue to take on the responsibilities as "the empire on which the sun never sets" as this is history. We have lots of responsibilities for the people who live in this country.

  • icon

    Bring back the workhouses. A workhouse was an institution where those unable to support themselves financially were offered accommodation and employment.

    Get the unemployed to build their own homes with materials given to them. Make them build the workhouses. That way we can increase the social housing supply and once they have built their own shelter and place of work they can earn their keep.

    Social housing supply increases, GDP increases and the level of benefits reduces. These people can learn new skills. get a job in the private sector and then house themselves.


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