They say an Englishman’s home is his castle and in this country, we have led the way with home ownership for many years.
What we must now focus on is making this dream a reality for today’s young people and their families.
I remember my father used to tell me about his own upbringing in the impoverished Meadows area of Nottingham and stories of tin baths in the yard and a large family cramped into very small accommodation.
It was in the 1950s that they moved to the newly built Clifton estate, which was then the largest council estate in Europe. This was an estate with well-built homes, indoor bathroom facilities and bedrooms that were suitable for families.
Many of those families who moved to the estate are still there today and it is a community I am very proud to hail from. It was the right to buy that encouraged many of those same people to later pursue the dream of home ownership. Today this same area stands as a testament to the success of the scheme.
But we now live in a very different age to those families moving in the 1950s. By the age of 30 those born between 1981 and 2000 are half as likely to be homeowners as those who were born between 1946 and 1965.
Home ownership does not just give us a stake in society – it also provides us with security and gives us something to hand down to our children in order to help give them a better life.
The fact is that we need a greater supply of housing and this means building homes not just for the future, but also for today’s families.
In Bassetlaw people want to be able to buy houses at affordable prices and have access to the funds to be able to finance this. The emphasis nowadays must be on helping people onto the housing ladder.
This is why schemes such as shared ownership, help to buy and the new 95% mortgages will make such a great difference in helping people to realise this dream.
Gone are the days of cheap and nasty buildings, whacked up to meet targets with no regard for infrastructure, build and design quality or community cohesion. We must learn from the mistakes of the 1960s and 70s. We must also ensure that we build the right sort of housing in the right areas and developments are not over-intensive, such as some of those we have seen in Worksop, Retford and Harworth.
We need those good quality family homes. Houses need to be affordable for the right reasons – not because corners are cut as they have been in the past. Affordable must not mean low-standard and the new planning reforms will help to ensure that, as well as helping people onto that very British ladder of home ownership.