SHAPPS GRANT-1 Grant Shapps, the shadow housing minister is  off to Cornwall today – a Tory/Lib Dem battleground county at the next election where the Lib Dems defend all six seats, most of which are pretty high on the Tory target list.

Mr Shapps will be there to announce a policy seeking to address the problem of local people being priced out of the housing market in rural areas.

According to today's Daily Telegraph:

Under the Tory plans, local authorities will be asked to set up a register of families who want to join a self-build scheme. The council will then assess how much land needs to be put aside for a self-build community to be set up. Grant Shapps, the shadow housing minister, said he wants to tap into the vast number of people who are now willing to build their own homes.

He said: “Whilst house-building in general has been suffering, the self-build community has been growing. Most people will be surprised to learn that last year the second largest home builder wasn’t one of the big household names, but an army of individuals who call themselves self-builders.

“Across the country they’re creating affordable homes in the very places where young families struggle with sky high house prices. Under the next Conservative Government there will be an unprecedented shift in power back into the hands of local people.“

“We want to see a self-build movement spread across the country and particularly come to the rescue in rural areas. Local authorities will use the assessment of interest in self-build to help kick-start this rural housing revolution.”

This comes on a day when the Housing minister, John Healey, has said that he is not worried about the fact that fewer people are now unable to afford to become home owners. Read about his lecture to the Fabian Society in today's Independent.

Jonathan Isaby