Labour is to reveal a raft of new housing policies at its party conference this weekend - and it claims it’s becoming “the party of home ownership.”
The policies, to be unveiled by shadow housing minister Lucy Powell to the party conference in Brighton in the next 48 hours, include:
- a cap on the number of properties in a new-build development that can be purchased by overseas investors - the limit will be 50 per cent;
- first time buyers would have “first dibs” on new build developments, off plan, for six months - a policy similar to that put forward in 2019 by Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership;
- slashing the definition of affordable rent, which is currently widely regarded as 80 per cent of local market rent levels - instead, Labour wants this to be only 30 per cent of average household income;
- reform of compulsory purchase to allow unused shops and other classes of non-residential property to be used for homes;
- councils to be given power to buy empty land at agricultural value, instead having to pay ‘hope value’ of the land with future planning permission.
Powell will tell the conference: “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.”