Labour has outlined how it plans to challenge the Conservatives on housing during its upcoming party conference.
Labour says it will give local authorities and communities’ new powers to develop land for more affordable housing and revitalise high streets and town centres by reforming “arcane and out of date” land purchasing powers.
Alongside this, the party says it would close loopholes developers exploit to avoid building more affordable housing and give first-time buyers “first dibs” on new developments.
Labour would also put an end to what it calls the “outrageous practice” of foreign buyers purchasing swathes of new housing developments off plan before local people can see them.
By doing this, Labour says it will re-establish the link between genuinely affordable housing and average earnings, bringing affordable rents and the dream of home ownership closer for those “locked out of the system” today.
‘Labour is party of home ownership’
In her conference speech, Lucy Powell, Labour’s shadow Housing secretary, is expected to highlight the importance of housing as the bedrock of stable, secure family life, giving people a stake in their communities and societies; and supporting opportunity and aspiration.
She will promise that Labour reforms would allow communities to build “the right houses, in the right places, at prices that local people can afford”.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Powell said: “The country is facing a housing crisis with the link between hard work and getting on the housing ladder broken for many.
“Insecure tenancies and expensive rents make it hard for people who play by the rules to get on in life.
“The challenges of affordability, an aging population, building safety, and the climate emergency all mean we need a bold new approach.
“We will build a new settlement on housing, with a first step today forcing developers to build more truly affordable homes, and giving first-time buyers’ first dibs on new developments so they can’t just be sold off-plan to second homeowners or foreign investors.
“Labour is the party of home ownership; the Tories are the party of speculators and developers.
“The Conservatives’ failures on housing today mean that they don’t have the answers to solve the challenges of tomorrow.
“They treat housing as a commodity, not the bedrock of stable lives and life chances.”
Labour’s annual conference is set to take place between 25-29 September.
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