The Housing Minister under the last Labour Government was anti home ownership. In a speech to the Fabian Society in 2009, he welcomed the fall in home ownership over the previous four years as "not such a bad thing." He said : "As housing wealth is passed from parents to children, inequality is compounded over the generations." His answer seemed to be that fewer people should be home owners – although they should include people like him. In Labour's house are many mansions.

Anyway Healey is now the Shadow Health Secretary and Caroline Flint is the Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary which, of course, includes housing brief.

Flint has written a chapter for the Purple Book, published by Biteback.

She says:

We should forget those who say that home ownership is losing favour, penning articles from the comfort of owner-occupied leafy suburbs and country cottages.

I wonder who she had in mind. She continues:

The desire to be close to family, invest, improve, move to the nice neighbourhoods, leave something behind for the nnext generation or just have a few square metres to call your own – conservatory and all – is instinctive, and the drive to own is unshakeable.

Limiting the opportunities for home ownership is more than just a source of frustration for would-be first-time buyers; it fundamentally shapes the sort of society we live in. Giving people a stake in the property market and allowing them to build up an asset base is empowering because it gives people control over where they live.

Does Ed Miliband agree with Healey or Flint? Who knows. I would prefer him to side with Flint. Certainly from an electoral point of view it is easier to defeat the Labour Party if they are anti home ownership. But from the national interest it is better if both main parties support wider home ownership and the argument is about the most effective way to achieve this.

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