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Labour unveils housing reforms to reverse ‘seven years of failure’

A ‘New Deal’ has this week been launched by Labour in a bid to win votes by setting out the party’s plan to fix the housing crisis.

Labour has promised to give priority to those let down most by failings in the housing market that have seen private rentals become increasingly unaffordable and the market-led housing model fail to deliver cheaper homes.

With less than 48 hours until the polls open, Labour has announced a policy to combat the national housing crisis being felt by millions of people in the UK.

The policy includes a promise to build 100,000 discounted FirstBuy homes for first-time buyers, and an extension and refocusing of Help to Buy so that it is only for first-time buyers.

The party also pledged to construct 100,000 “genuinely affordable” homes a year by 2022 – including the biggest council housing programme in over 30 years, and a better deal for private renters with a “consumer rights revolution” including three-year tenancies with an inflation cap on rent rises and new minimum property standards.

Labour has also slammed Tory ministers for “seven years of failure” on housing by highlighting that new affordable housebuilding is at its lowest in 24 years, that rent is rising faster than incomes for many people and the fact that rough sleeping has more than doubled over this period.

“A Labour government will start on fixing the housing crisis immediately,” said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. “High prices, excessive rents and the chronic lack of affordable housing are ruining the lives of young people, families and aspiring homeowners.

“Labour will usher in a new era in council housebuilding to build more council homes than at any time for over 30 years so that the broken market is fixed to provide homes for the many, not investment opportunities for a wealthy few.”

And John Healey, the shadow secretary for housing, also appealed to voters to reject the Conservatives offer on housing that is just “more of the same”.

“Labour offers a New Deal on housing between the people of this country and a new government,” he said. “It is a bold, long-term plan for housing to help those being let down most by a broken housing market and failing Conservative policy – young first-time buyers, private renters and people needing new social rented homes.

“After seven years of failure, a Labour government will shift the housing market decisively towards first-time buyers on ordinary incomes,” he concluded.

However, Conservative Andrew Percy, the minister in charge of the Northern Powerhouse development drive, claimed it was “just another unfunded promise Jeremy Corbyn can’t deliver”.

“We have got Britain building again so more people can have good housing, delivering 190,000 extra homes in 2015-16,” he added. “If we vote Conservative and keep Theresa May as prime minister we will keep our economy strong, deliver a new generation of social housing, and keep on building more homes.”

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) also says that rent controls will only serve to reduce the number and quality of PRS homes.

Alan Ward, chairman of the organisation, added there is little evidence of demand for long tenancies and the PRS is already subject to strict regulations and standards – albeit ones that are not uniformly enforced.

“These policies will do nothing to help the families and vulnerable people renting homes that the party wants to support and protect,” argued Ward.

Top Image: Danny Lawson PA Wire

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