Theresa May’s right-hand man, Damian Green, said on Tuesday that the Prime Minister’s speech at the Tory party conference would see the “rebirth of council housing”.
She announced on Wednesday that the government would plough £2 billion more into affordable housing, bringing total spending to nearly £9 billion.
But she also seemed to suggest that her party’s record on home building was already in better shape than that of the last Labour government.
“The number of new homes being delivered each year has increased significantly since 2010”
She’s technically right, but that’s far from the the full story.
Some 151,230 new homes were built across the UK in 2009-10. (That includes private, housing association and council houses). In 2015-16 (the latest year for which we have stats), that figure was up to 168,600.
But we should point out three important caveats.
There have been six full financial years since the Tories took office in 2010. In four of those years, the number of new houses being built was lower than it was at any time under Labour.
There were more new homes built in each year between 1998 and 2008 under Labour than have been built in any one year under the Tories.
The last Labour government saw an average of 188,694 new homes built each year. Since the Tories took office in 2010, the average number of new homes built each year has been 145,727.
That means that under Labour, annual housebuilding was nearly 30 per cent higher than it has been under the Tories.