Will property big cheeses vote Labour?

There was a time when the property top dogs always voted Conservative.

The Tories repaid the favour by being ‘generous’ over planning consents, tax breaks for developers and light (or possibly no) regulation on house selling.

But now Labour appears as blue and pro-developer as the Tories used to be. Indeed Cameron’s Conservatives want to ban garden-grabbing, insist developers build larger homes and may introduce a new 'post-HIP' sellers' pack, so might actually be more interventionist than Gordon Brown.

That may explain why the property establishment has given the Tories a kicking.

Stewart Baseley of the Home Builders’ Federation called Conservative ideas on planning “a high risk strategy”. Senior Savills staff have been openly sceptical of the Tory plans, too - in front of journalists, of all people.

Now I hear that Land Securities and Countryside Properties are behind Building Futures, a lobby group set up to tell the Tories exactly where they are wrong.

I’ve already rattled on, in this blog, about how political parties don’t prioritise housing as they used to. Therefore perhaps it's a good thing the Conservatives are at least saying something about the industry – because the other parties are not.

But silence, of course, may be exactly what the property establishment wants. By doing little to step up housebuilding, Labour since 1997 has effectively allowed the property industry to do what it wants, when it wants, notwithstanding the odd spat over HIPs and density targets.

It's all a long way from Thatcher's days when a leading construction boss was the treasurer of the Tory party...and Labour pushed developers, private and public, to give everyone their own home.

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