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Brown's balancing act of ownership and rental

15 May 2007
Chancellor Gordon Brown has acknowledged the government must do more to improve the availability of housing for first-time buyers.

Tipped by most as a dead cert for next prime minister, Tony Blair's likely successor told BBC One's Sunday AM programme that "a home-owning, asset-owning, wealth-owning democracy … would be in the interests of the country".

Boosting homeownership, he stressed, would give individuals "a stake in the country".

It would also show that "we are the government on the side of people with aspirations," he said.

But Mr Brown emphasised that making more rental accommodation easily available at reasonable prices was also a priority, particularly for older people for whom homeownership is neither financially nor practically sustainable.

"You've got to combine the building of houses for ownership with the building of houses for rent in a far more mobile and fluid society," he commented.

"A combination of housing for ownership and rent" would help both young first-time buyers and older people seeking accommodation for their retirement years, he explained.

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