John Healey MP, Gary Porter and Natalie Bennett at the SHOUT Launch in June 2014
We are a cross-party campaign. Our launch at Portcullis House, in June 2014, was attended by MPs and peers from all the major political parties. Amongst the speakers were Natalie Bennett (Leader – Green party), the Right Honourable John Healey MP (former Labour Minister of State for housing), John Leech MP (Liberal Democrat), Gary Porter (Conservative Vice-Chair of the LGA), Emma Reynolds MP (Shadow Housing Minister) and Lord Victor Adebowale (Cross-Bench peer).
Shout Members Colin Wiles and Tom Murtha
Until 1980, both Conservative and Labour governments competed with each other to build the most homes. They understood the importance of housing as the bedrock of stable civic and neighbourhood life, and recognised the importance of house building to national economic growth. Indeed, the Conservative Party manifesto of 1951 contained the following statement:
"Housing is the first of the social services. It is also one of the keys to increased productivity. Work, family life, health and education are all undermined by overcrowded homes. Therefore (our) Government will give housing a priority second only to national defence. Our target remains 300,000 houses a year.”
Lord Victor Adebowale and Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds MP.
The economic argument for social house building is clear; not only does building homes offer the best multiplier effect of any form of investment, but the annual cost of propping up high rents in the form of housing benefit is now £24 billion per year compared to an annual investment in new “affordable” homes of less than £2 billion a year. This is economic and fiscal stupidity. By investing in an adequate supply of housing, and in new forms of social housing, the taxpayer would save billions of pounds annually.