Had a bit of a spat with Grant Shapps on Twitter last night as he did his usual trick of re-announcing announcements of his announcement about alleged progress and action of the Housing Strategy that he announced earlier in the week. Following so far? In short Shapps was spinning on Twitter the nothing new he announced earlier in the week.
I’m debating whether to call Shapps ‘Kylie’ as in I’m Spinning Around or Elsie as in Lazy Consensus (LC- geddit!) Sorry I digress.
Shapps said new RTB would create UP TO 100,000 new RTB sales and ‘up to’ here is more than a semantic point. The exchange began after Shapps said up to 100,000 new RTB sales would happen (so Kylie would fit better with this level of optimism) and went:
As you can see the housing minister didn’t answer my point of ‘up to’ rather than the definitive number of 100,000 that I recalled. He also tried to point out that the 200,000 figure I ‘recalled’ was 100,000 RTB sakes and a further 100,000 new build from other initiatives as in ‘100k homes on government land.’
[Note: These 100,000 homes ‘on government land’ are homes for sale direct to private ownership for which the land cost is payable back to government by the housebuilder when the sales are completed. So these are not rented units]
Let’s look closer shall we?
On the first morning of the Tory conference Cameron gave an interview to Andrew Marr in which he did say 100,000 RTB sales and a further 100,000. This was the PMs way of announcing a policy that of course he couldn’t leave to a minister who is not in the cabinet. So it seems Shapps recall is better than mine. Or is it?
Later on that same week Cameron raised this figure to 200,000 RTB sales. You don’t recall that? Perhaps the Daily Mail report can jog your recall when it said of RTB:
“It helped Mrs Thatcher win over the upwardly-mobile working class but will a rekindling of the right-to-buy boost David Cameron’s fortunes? Last week the Prime Minister announced that he would help an extra 200,000 people to buy their council homes by increasing the discount available. The money raised from the sales, he said, would be ploughed back into building more social homes, one new one for every property sold.”
“Labour killed Right To Buy by lowering discounts. We will raise them. We intend to help at least 100k council tenants buy their homes” (My emphasis)
So at best Shapps comments last night on ‘up to’ 100,000 new RTB sales is a climb down from ‘at least’ 100,000 RTB sales he so effusively stated back in October. It also shows that at the Tory conference announcement on 2 October 2011 by Cameron, Shapps believed that the new RTB did not have a limit of 100,000 which is now his position from his tweet last night and even then he’s downplaying that new ‘limit’ with his use of ‘up to.’ Although Shapps is at least consistent as he has never mentioned WHEN these 100,000 new RTB sales will come off or if the one for one replacements will be like-for-like and not replace a 4 bed house with a 1 bed flat.
On balance I think Kylie fits better don’t you? Thankfully Shapps is usually found in hot water rather than hot pants!