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Labour promises to build 1 million "genuinely affordable" homes in 10 years

  • Publish Date: Posted about 3 years ago

Housing has become a political battleground as younger voters become more and more frustrated at increasingly being shut out of the property market due to a lack of affordable housing to buy or rent.
Indeed, government statistics show the number of homeowners under the age of 45 in England has dropped from 4.46m in 2010 to 3.56m in 2015 - 2016.

Therefore it was no surprise this week to see a joint announcement by the UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow housing secretary John Healey where Labour set out their plans to deliver one million "genuinely affordable" homes in England over a decade, with new support for councils and housing associations to build many of them.

Launching the proposals in a consultation paper in London, Mr Corbyn promised to build housing on a scale not seen since the 1970s and that local authorities in every part of England would face a "duty to deliver affordable homes".

The Labour party, should they get into power, announced they would lift borrowing caps for all local councils to build new homes as part of a 50-point housing plan, under the plan, the UK opposition party would also scrap the Conservative government’s contentious policy of defining “affordable rent” as properties rented out at 80% of the market rate, more than £1,500 a month in some areas.

The Labour leader used his speech to accuse the Conservatives of making "bogus" claims on affordable house-building on their watch, by allowing homes worth up to £450,000 to be classed 'affordable'.

Under Labour’s proposals a new definition would be linked to local incomes to ensure homes are genuinely affordable and Labour would suspend the "right to buy" scheme as part of a package of measures to stop the loss of existing social rented homes.

Jeremy Corbyn said a Labour Government would make sure ordinary people could afford the new properties by tearing up Conservative rules. He commented that "When housing has become a site of speculation for a wealthy few, leaving the many unable to access a decent, secure home, something has gone seriously wrong."

"Luxury flats proliferate across our big cities, while social housing is starved of investment and too many people are living in dangerous accommodation at the mercy of rogue landlords.  "We need to restore the principle that a decent home is a right owed to all, not a privilege for the few.

"And the only way to deliver on that right for everyone, regardless of income, is through social housing.” Other key points discussed were:

Labour would create a new English Land Sovereign Trust - backed by compulsory purchase powers - to make land available for building more cheaply. Under the scheme, landowners would lose a slice of the extra value created by the granting of planning permission, which can see the price of agricultural land rocket 100-fold from £21,000 to £2.1 million a hectare outside London.

In response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Labour would seek to address the causes of the fire at Grenfell Tower and introduce new decent homes targets for social landlords, including fire safety for the first time. Plus, a new independent national organisation and a Commissioner would be created to represent the views of tenants.