Building meets then shadow housing minister Grant Shapps in the run-up to the 2010 general election

Grant Shapps Archive

A young man in a hurry

As we move into the thick of party conference season, it’s clear that housing policy will become a strong talking point moving towards the general election and will be designated a healthy word count in forthcoming election manifestos. It’s therefore an interesting time to keep track of the candidates that could take on the housing and building regulation baton, should there be a personnel shift at the top. In February 2010, a few months ahead of the election of the coalition government, Building met Grant Shapps, the then shadow housing minister, to discuss his plans should he become a fully fledged minister (as he subsequently did). Addressing the industry, Shapps said at the time: “We recognise that you guys have had a tough time. I can’t remember a time when a party in opposition was offering the building world so much, for so little in return.” The feature honed in on Shapps’ plans to do away with regional housing targets and allow councils to choose how many homes they build. As he explained: “It seems to me we’ve had a situation whereby planning’s been difficult to obtain and it’s been the locals who are stopping you. We’re proposing a situation whereby planning’s easier to obtain because we’ve helped get the locals on side.”