Boris Johnson has dismissed claims coronavirus has “robbed me of my mojo” as he set out promises on social care, green energy and housing in his Conservative Party conference speech.
The prime minister, speaking via a video stream to his party’s members, launched a strident defence of the private sector as he vowed to “build back better” from the COVID-19 crisis.
Declaring he had “had more than enough of this disease”, Mr Johnson promised Tory members that the next time they meet it would be “face to face and cheek by jowl”.
In the most eye-catching of the prime minister’s policy proposals in his address, Mr Johnson reiterated his election manifesto promise to encourage a new market in long-term fixed rate mortgages.
The prime minister said: “We will transform the sclerotic planning system, we will make it faster and easier to build beautiful new homes without destroying the green belt or desecrating our countryside.
“But these reforms will take time and they are not enough on their own.
“We need now to take forward one of the key proposals of our manifesto of 2019: giving young, first-time buyers the chance to take out a long-term, fixed-rate mortgage of up to 95% of the value of the home – vastly reducing the size of the deposit.”
He added: “We believe that this policy could create two million more owner-occupiers – the biggest expansion of home ownership since the 1980s. We will help turn generation rent into generation buy.”
Mr Johnson also promised that offshore wind power would be powering every home in the country within 10 years.
“Your kettle, your washing machine, your cooker, your heating, your plug-in electric vehicle – the whole lot of them will get their juice cleanly and without guilt from the breezes that blow around these islands,” he said.
“As Saudi Arabia is to oil, the UK is to wind – a place of almost limitless resource, but in the case of wind without, the carbon emissions and without the damage to the environment.”