Property developers who have given the Conservative Party millions of pounds are allegedly “on strike” because the party is preventing the construction of new homes.
The faucets have been shut off for homebuilders and developers, who formerly contributed around a quarter of all donations.
One of the Tories told The Times, “I think you might struggle to name a developer who is currently donating.”
It happens at a time when the Home Builders Federation predicts a decline in house construction in England to its lowest level since the Second World War. It claims that the government has “anti-development and anti-business” policies that could seriously impede progress.
Developers also criticized the administration for dropping building targets in December as a result of a backbench MP uprising.
In order to prevent what would have been the first significant Commons rebellion under Rishi Sunak’s administration, ministers lowered local housebuilding goals.
The modification designated the 300,000 annual home construction target as a “starting point” or “goal”. If a council has “genuine constraints” or would have to build at a density that “significantly changes the character” of their area, they may suggest constructing fewer dwellings.
Since then, the number of new homes being built has decreased each month, and developers have reacted angrily.
Rob Boughton, who runs one of the biggest developers in the southeast, Thakeham, said MPs should be “ashamed” for protecting “a vocal minority at the cost of so many”. Mr Boughton, whose company has donated nearly £1million to the party since 2017, wrote on LinkedIn: “What happened to creating opportunity? These small-minded, selfish people just don’t get it.”
In another post, he said: “What hope do the aspiring [first-time buyers] have? Do they care about 20 to 45-year-olds in this country or not?”
And the founder of one of the country’s biggest housebuilders Redrow described the government as “anti-housebuilding”. In an interview with industry publication Building, Steve Morgan, who has given more than £1.25million to the Conservatives, said: “It’s almost like the government wants to destroy the industry.”
The pair last donated to the Conservatives last October. Another Tory source told The Times: “They [the developer donors] are on strike. And is it any surprise? What a way to spit in their f***ing face.”
The Conservative party treasurer, Graham Edwards, is chairman of one of the UK’s biggest property companies Telereal Trillium. A party spokesman said: “We have had a very healthy first half of the year for donations.”
Labour has proposed giving local officials broad new powers to acquire property at a discount and develop on it in an effort to take advantage of the government’s track record on housing construction.
Party insiders told The Guardian that, if they win the election the following year, their party will introduce legislation giving local development agencies in England the authority to purchase land for a small fraction of what it might otherwise cost if they wish to build on it.
Without having to take into account the “hope value,” a significant price premium given to any area on which developers hope to obtain planning clearance, officials will be able to purchase land under compulsory purchase orders.