Labour pledges half a million council homes

27 Apr 17

Labour has pledged to build a million homes, 200,000 a year over the next Parliament, of which half would be council homes.

Jeremy Corbyn made the commitment today as his party released research showing that, on average, around 900 more homes have been built in councils under Labour control when compared with Conservative and Liberal Democrat run authorities, since 2010.

The research doesn’t account for housing need, which is often higher in urban areas where Labour has traditionally been more dominant.

According to House of Commons library analysis, commissioned by Labour, Conservative-led local authorities built an average of 1,679 homes between 2010 and 2016, while Labour councils built 2,577 on average – more than 50% more . Liberal Democrat-led areas built 1,660 on average.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey said the latest figures from the government show housebuilding is falling, with just 140,660 new homes built in 2016, compared to 142,600 the year before.

He claimed affordable housebuilding was at a 24-year low with 200,000 fewer homeowners since 2010, and a doubling in the numbers of people rough sleeping.

Healey said: “These new figures show that Labour in power means building more homes for local people.

“Tory ministers talk about getting Britain building but their own local councils are lagging behind.”

Healey told the Huffington Post that Labour would create a dedicated housing ministry to tackle the housing crisis.

He said the department would make sure the government supported improving the level of housing building, as well as the range of homes built, ensuring there were affordable options to rent and buy.

Speaking at an event in Harlow today, Corbyn is expected to say Britain faces a housing crisis, with spiralling rents and unaffordable housing.

Responding to Labour’s claims, housing minister Gavin Barwell said: “Under Theresa May’s strong and stable leadership, we recently set out a clear plan to build more affordable housing – and the number of housing starts is up by three quarters since 2010.”

In February the government unveiled its white paper on housing, pledging to build one million homes to fix the “broken” system.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid proposed requiring councils to create housing plans to meet growing demand, reducing the amount of time developers are allowed to  ‘land bank’ and helping smaller construction companies compete against larger competitors.

The Liberal Democrats have previously stated they want to see 300,000 homes built annually to meet the country’s needs – in line with the recommendations of a 2016 Lord’s report.

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