After a difficult few months, the Conservative leadership was hoping to turn the page and reassure the party’s restless base that they have a plan to generate economic growth and prevent electoral doom in 2015.
However, the early part of the conference was dominated by ‘Borismania’, with a media scrum at Birmingham station so intense that it echoed Beatlemania 50 years ago. Ahead of his address to the Conference Hall, the mayor announced that he would commit £100 million to get Londoners onto the property ladder and the prime minister – in his closing address to the conference – emphasised the need to build more homes, showing how much more political attention housing now receives.
While in Birmingham the RIBA met with Mark Prisk MP, the new housing minister, and attended roundtable discussions organised by the thinktank IPPR on housing and health and one on localism hosted by the RTPI that featured the new Planning Minister Nick Boles MP.
The RIBA’s conference activity drew to a close with the biggest housing event of conference: the launch of Homes for Britain– a coalition of housing bodies calling for housing to be put right at the top of the political agenda both to drive growth and build stronger communities.
The RIBA is one of the core partners, alongside the National Housing Federation, Crisis, the Home Builders’ Federation, the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Residential Landlords Association. There are also around 30 other supportive organisations involved, including the LGA.
Speakers at the packed launch – attended by almost 200 people – included Mark Prisk MP and John Cridland, Director General of the CBI.
So watch this space for more from Homes for Britain in the coming months!