As we review the policies discussed by the Conservative party at its conference this year, we look back to what an earlier Labour party thought of another Conservative government’s housing white paper at a party conference past.

Labour's housing problem cropped

As we review the policies discussed by the Conservative party at its conference this year, we look back to what an earlier Labour party thought of another Conservative government’s housing white paper at a party conference past.

The term “housing crisis” was being bandied about nearly as much in 1987 as it is now, although the focus was more on clearing and regenerating inner cities.

The Conservatives had decided to fix inner city housing estates, and Labour delegates saw this “belated discovery of the inner cities and the housing crisis [as a plot] calculated to scatter Labour strongholds in metropolitan areas”.

Labour MP for Ladywood Clare Short recalled being approached by a Tory MP, who when he heard she had an inner-city constituency, said: “Watch out, we’re coming for you.” She said: “We have to sharpen up our services to avoid only being associated with crumbling estates.”  Housing spokesman Clive Soley said the Tories had ignored that housing problems applied not only to inner cities but all over the country. 

However, Labour’s members weren’t too impressed with their own party’s solutions – delegates voted for a review of its housing policies.

To read the full article from 9 October 1987, click on the pdf below.

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