The Prime Minister has confessed to Sky News she is “worried” about the younger generation not getting an opportunity to get their foot on the housing ladder and its subsequent impact on wealth inequality in the UK.
“Across the board we must come together to ensure the homes are being built,” the Prime Minister said, at a major house building site at the location of the old West Ham football ground at Upton Park, east London.
“What I’m worried about is the fact that we have a generation now – of young people particularly – who worry about not being able to own their own home, about getting their foot on the housing ladder.
“And, for me, the British dream is each generation has a better future than the last. For many people I think they fear that opportunity is not theirs.
“That’s why the Government is putting such an effort into building the number of homes that we need in this country.
“For too many years we simply haven’t built enough homes.”
Mrs May also said wealth inequality was “an issue” arising from the accumulation of property wealth, through rising house prices, for an older generation.
The Prime Minister highlighted how this is occurring at the same time as young people “just don’t feel that they’re going to be able to share that in the future”.
Asked whether a country where housing outcomes were determined by parents’ property situations could be a truly meritocratic nation, Mrs May said: “I want this to be a country where how far you get in life is about your abilities and willingness to work hard and that’s what we want to see.
“Today, we do see people’s opportunities being restricted because of the problems we see the housing market.”
But, the Prime Minister rejected the notion the governments in which she had served since 2010 were to blame for a halving in spending on housing development from £11bn in 2009/10 to £6bn last year.
She also declined an invitation to implore Tory councillors to stop voting against new homes.
“Not every request for planning permission is going to be right,” Mrs May said, adding there was “no single answer” to the issue.
Asked whether she regretted her infamous assertion made at the 2016 Conservative Party conference that “if you’re a citizen of the world you’re a citizen of nowhere”, the PM defended her remarks
“What I was talking about with the citizens of nowhere was the importance of people being rooted in their community,” she said.