Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has revealed his party’s plans for UK housing as part of its manifesto, including 100,000 council homes a year by the end of 2024, reforming Help-to-Buy and creating a new Department for Housing.
The manifesto also states that it will build “at least” 50,000 additional genuinely affordable homes a year through housing associations by the end of the parliament.
Labour says the homes will be built to cutting edge design and green standards citing the Stirling Prize award winning Goldsmith Street council development in Norwich as an example of what Labour’s modern council housing could look like.
In its section on Private Renters, the party says: “More than 11 million people rent from a private landlord and many of them are at the sharp end of the housing crisis.
We will take urgent action to protect private renters through rent controls, open-ended tenancies, and new, binding minimum standards.
Labour will stop runaway rents by capping them with inflation, and give cities powers to cap rents further. We will give renters the security they need to make their rented housing a home, with new open-ended tenancies to stop unfair, ‘no fault’ evictions. We will make sure every property is up to scratch with new minimum standards, enforced through nationwide licensing and tougher sanctions for landlords who flout the rules. We will fund new renters’ unions in every part of the country, to allow renters to organise and defend their rights.”
The announcement follows the Liberal Democrats commitment if elected to deliver 100,000 social rent units a year and require all new homes to reach Passivhaus standards from 2025.
The Lib Dem pledges are part of a £130bn package of infrastructure investment that also includes a commitment to build 300,000 homes a year.
Labour says its plans will be paid for with funding from Labour’s Social Transformation Fund. The Conservatives have also revealed their plans for housing.
John Healey, Labour’s shadow housing secretary said, “The next Labour Government will kick start a housing revolution, with the biggest investment in new council and social homes this country has seen for decades.
“Labour’s transformational housing plans will mean thousands more genuinely affordable homes for people on ordinary incomes in every area of the country.”
Martijn Van Der Heijden, of Habito said, “Labour’s housing building pledge to provide more affordable, efficient homes, improve housing standards and reduce discrimination for tenants is a welcome step. The detail on supporting councils and developers to realise their home building ambition through reducing regulatory barriers is also a positive intention. However, in addition to this welcome focus on the issues around housing supply, there remain significant issues with the process that so many have to go through to unlock the keys to their first home.
“It is right that both Labour and the Conservatives are now pledging to tackle affordability, but the fact remains that for too many consumers, stress, anxiety and jargon throughout the process play a key barrier for those looking to get on the housing ladder. We would also encourage both Labour and the Conservatives to go further and look to improve liquidity in the market to help get people moving, allowing innovation in new products and the growth of online, whole of market advice platforms to offer speed and certainty to everyone throughout the UK.”
Nick Sanderson, CEO, Audley Group, hit back said, “Housing targets are not even close to being reached – the gulf is widening. Yet government after government continues to make the same promises that won’t be kept: to build more, and more quickly. It’s headline grabbing, but misinformed. As manifestos are published and debated, I urge the political parties to take another look at the broader possibilities to create enough homes. The larger properties that could be freed up if more specialist housing was built.
“The older people that would love to downsize. Our own recent research found that 27% of over 55s who downsized really struggled to find a suitable property. What a waste that is when those family homes would go a long way to creating movement in the housing market and halting the need to build over huge swathes of UK countryside.”