I feel sorry for the Magic Money Tree. It hasn’t been shaken more violently since the 1987 Great Storm. From its branches has fallen £56 billion for HS2 so that very busy people can get to their destination quicker. Simon Jenkins in his article about the awards of contracts for HS2 hopes that the project will not damage the case for Crossrail 2. Transport projects are beginning to sound like film sequels.
It is obvious that the deaths of who knows how many people in the Grenfell Tower fire has failed to have any influence in changing government housing policy. Even before Grenfell Theresa May’s pledge to help the people who are ‘just about managing’ to keep a roof over their heads has proved to be hollow. Instead of announcing contracts for HS2, she should have announced plans for a home building drive that would reduce the annual housing benefit bill of more than £20 billion.
An indication of how critical the housing crisis has become occurred last week when arch free-marketer Conservative MP John Redwood sponsored a debate in Parliament about the supply of homes. Sadly he was very one-dimensional in his remarks. His worry was that the supply shortage of homes has caused a decline in home ownership. He fails to see that a supply of cheap and affordable homes to rent is the best way to reversing the decline; it allows people to save.
The Housing Minister in his response said the 2017 Housing White Paper is a rather good piece of work. Not true, there was little of the money allocated for HS2 and hardly a mention about building more homes to rent. HS2 should mean Housing Supply 2. HS1 being the post-war house building programme. The conclusion is that the government has favoured people who want to travel quicker, rather than the dead, which sounds like the title of a film sequel.
Terry McGrenera, the House Party