Shared ownership makes me feel proud

Margaret Thatcher when prime minister ANL-150616-120303001
Margaret Thatcher when prime minister ANL-150616-120303001
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HAYES IN THE HOUSE: By John Hayes

Mao Zedong was one of the greatest mass murderers in history, his ‘Great Leap Forward’ causing a famine which led to an estimated 45 million deaths in China. Central to his poisonous doctrine was a hostility to private ownership; in common with other zealots of the totalitarian left – Stalin and Pol Pot – he regarded private property with particular disdain.

By contrast, in free countries like ours the acquisition of private goods, and in particular owning a home, is an aspiration which is at the heart of defining our sense of place and value.

Central to the Government’s programme of economic security is support to help more hard-working people realise their dream of home ownership. Britain will embark upon the biggest house building programme since the 1970s by delivering 400,000 new homes by the end of the decade.

This should not be about merely having a place to live owned by someone else, but the feeling of worth and security that comes from knowing that where you live is yours and will be until you choose otherwise. In building more houses we should always first look at helping people to own, which is what the overwhelming majority want to do, and why Margaret Thatcher’s Right to Buy was so important – taking people on the journey from lifelong dependency on a landlord to the freedom of home ownership.

That 135,000 of these new properties will be available through shared ownership - a scheme I developed as Shadow Housing Minister some years ago - is something in which I take great pride.

Shared ownership has a number of advantages over other ways of helping people to buy their home. Crucially, it can help increase the sustainability of home ownership through greater flexibility. A householder can adjust the stake they own in a property according to their circumstances. So, as a young person’s income increases over their working life, they are able to increase the size of the stake they own, eventually becoming the full owner of their home.

Support for home ownership is one of the many practical steps the Government is taking to ensure that we leave to the next generation a stronger country than the one we inherited.

Families in our area aspire to home ownership, and they deserve political leaders that are on their side. As the Chancellor said in last week’s Autumn Statement, the representatives of the working people of Britain are ‘the builders of our better future.’