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Conservative conference: Cameron demands more houses, academies and free schools

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The prime minister has put housing and education at the centre of his speech to the Conservative party conference

David Cameron admitted ‘a lot more houses’ were needed in Britain and pledged support for more free schools and academies.

Speaking in Birmingham earlier today, he went on to demand that more was done to ensure young people could get on the property ladder, reported AJ’s sister title Construction News.

He said: ‘Housebuilding isn’t just a vital engine of the economy - it goes much bigger than that. But you know the average age that someone buys their first home today, without any help from their parents? 33 years old. We are the party of home ownership – we cannot let this carry on.’

We are the party of home ownership – we cannot let this carry on

He added: ‘[We have to accept] we need to build a lot more houses in Britain’.

Cameron also echoed mayor of London Boris Johnson’s support for free schools and academies and added that when people ask the government to ‘slow down education reform’ he says no, that he wants ‘more free schools, more academies, more rigorous exams’.

He added: ‘I’m not here to defend privilege. I’m here to spread it.’

However UK Green Building Council chief executive Paul King described the prime minister’s speech as ‘timid’ in its vision for the green economy. Cameron talked about the achievements of offshore wind and tidal power and made reference to the Green Investment Bank, but failed to mention other policies including the government’s flagship energy efficiency policy, the Green Deal.

King said: ‘This was a case of so near, yet so far. Great that renewables and the Green Investment Bank got a name check, but this was a golden opportunity to set the record straight for those businesses who this week voiced grave concerns about the lack of certainty on government’s green aspirations.

‘What was needed was a clear vision of a green economy and the importance of meeting our carbon targets. What we got was something pretty timid indeed.’

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