Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband has today published the Labour Party election manifesto. Declaring himself “ready” for power, Mr Miliband unveiled the document, entitled Britain Can Be Better at an event this morning in Manchester.
The 85 page manifesto features a section on ‘Helping our families and communities to thrive’ which includes policies designed to increase house building to at least 200,000 homes a year by 2020.
Along with a commitment to implement the recommendations of the Lyons Review, the housing policies highlighted in the manifesto include measures to reform the private rented sector, increase competition in the house building industry and introduce ‘use it or lose it’ powers for local authorities to prevent ‘land banking and speculation’.
Restating several housing policies announced by Labour politicians over recent months, the manifesto states that a future Labour government would
Give local authorities the power to give ‘first call’ to first-time buyers on new homes in areas of housing growth. This echoes previous statements with regard to the Housing Growth Areas proposed by Lyons
Start to build a new generation of garden cities
Introduce a Future Homes Fund to unlock funding by requiring deposits held in Help to Buy ISAs, the new special first-time buyer savings accounts announced in the Budget last month, to be used by banks to invest in increasing housing supply. This was first announced by Mr Miliband over the Easter weekend
Create greater transparency in the land market and give local authorities new ‘use it or lose it’ powers to ‘reward the building of high quality homes’ instead of ‘land banking and speculation’
Increase competition in the house building industry by supporting small builders through a Help to Build scheme and by getting the public sector building more new homes
Prioritise capital investment for housing and reform the council housing financing system
Empower local authorities to charge higher council tax on empty homes in an effort to bring them back into use
Establish a national register of landlords, ban ‘unfair’ letting agent fees and make three-year tenancies the norm in the private rented sector
Tackle the causes of homelessness and rough sleeping
Elsewhere in the manifesto, Labour promises to ‘embark on the biggest devolution of power to our English city and county regions in a hundred years’ by bringing forward an English Devolution Act and transferring £30bn of funding to city and county regions, including housing funding streams.
For Wales, Labour pledges to put Welsh devolution on the same statutory footing as Scottish devolution and establish a ‘fair funding settlement’ with a guaranteed funding floor.
The full document, Britain Can Be Better is available to read and download here. The section on ‘building new homes’ begins on page 45.
Deputy Director of External Affairs
Home Builders Federation
London, SE1 9PL
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