The newly-appointed shadow housing minister says his first priority is to arrest the long-term fall in home ownership in Britain.
John Healey - a veteran campaigner for social housing and housing minister for a brief period during the Blair premiership - says in The Guardian newspaper that home ownership is "the type of housing most people most want."
He says ownership "has been dropping like a stone and for young people their hopes of being able to get on the housing ladder are all gone in most parts of the country.”
In what some may see as a thinly-veiled warning to Labour's new leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Healey also uses the article to tell his party not to “imagine the solution to the housing crisis lies solely in building more council homes”.
Healey says of his party's new leader: “We now need to talk to the country. He, and we, all have to try and win the support and confidence of people in the 80 or so Tory seats that we need to win again in 2020. My test in housing is we have to be able to spell out what we want to do, and explain how we will do it and above all how will pay for it."
Ahead of this spring's general election Labour commissioned Sir Michael Lyons to prepare an independent report on possible housing policy; on the strength of his recommendations Labour included in its manifesto a pledge to build 200,000 homes annually for five years had it been elected to power.
“We are in a different world now and all this work will have to be revisited as part of a new national debate" says Healey.
Labour's first conference under Corbyn's leadership begins on Sunday.