News | Published November 21 2019

Labour and the Conservatives to announce plans for housing

The Labour and Conservative parties are expected to announce their plans to address England’s housing crisis on Thursday, with Labour due to unveil its election manifesto.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s plans include the construction of 100,00 new council houses per year by 2024, in what the party calls the largest affordable housing initiative since the 1960s.

The housing scheme, estimated to cost £75 billion, will be paid for with Labour’s proposed Social Transformation Fund. All new council housing will be built and operated by the local authority with rent going back into the council budget.

In addition, Corbyn plans to increase levels of social housing by having 50,000 “genuinely affordable” homes built per year, to be allocated via Housing Associations.

Corbyn is expected to say: ”Housing should be for the many, not a speculation opportunity for dodgy landlords and the wealthy few.

"I am determined to create a society where working class communities and young people have access to affordable, good quality council and social homes.”

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner has already said that the housing market “hasn’t delivered” and that a Labour government would assume “more direct control” over housing.

Rayner said: "Many families are in sub-standard accommodation, paying huge amounts of money for it.”

However, an expert from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, Paul Johnson, has warned that Labour's housing plans could risk "cannibalising what's going on in the private sector" if they are brought in quickly.

Meanwhile, Conservative plans for housing include a million new builds in the run-up to 2024, with more house building in the private sector rather than paying for it out of the public purse.

In detail, Boris Johnson's plans include helping first-time buyers onto the housing ladder through a new mortgage plan with long-term fixed rates, which will require only a five per cent deposit. Local first-time buyers will also be eligible for a discount of 30 per cent on new homes in their area.

Such a relaxed lending strategy is likely to come under scrutiny from the Bank of England, after it recently concluded that affordability rules should only ease if first-time buyers are being put off by prices rising faster than they are currently.

In the build-up to announcing his party’s plans later, Johnson said: “The Conservatives have always been the party of homeownership, but under a Conservative majority government in 2020 we can and will do even more to ensure everyone can get on and realise their dream of owning their home.

"At the moment renting a property can also be an uncertain and unsettling business, and the costs of deposits make it harder to move. We are going to fix that.”

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Authored by

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
November 21 2019

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