SECURE HOMES FOR ALL
Home is at the heart of all of our lives. It’s the foundation on which we raise our families, the bedrock for our dreams and aspirations. But for too many people, the housing pressures they face are getting worse not better. Britain has a housing crisis – a crisis of supply and a crisis of affordability.
After seven years of failure, the Conservatives have no plan to fix the housing crisis. Since 2010, housebuilding has fallen to its lowest level since the 1920s, rough sleeping has risen every year, rents have risen faster than incomes, there are almost 200,000 fewer home-owners, and new affordable housebuilding is at a 24-year low.
It doesn’t have to be like this. Labour will invest to build over a million new homes. By the end of the next Parliament we will be building at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year for genuinely affordable rent or sale.
Labour will establish a new Department for Housing to focus on tackling the crisis and to ensure housing is about homes for the many, not investment opportunities for the few. Labour’s new housing ministry will be tasked with improving the number, standards and affordability of homes. We will overhaul the Homes and Communities Agency to be Labour’s housing delivery body, and give councils new powers to build the homes local communities need.
We will prioritise brownfield sites and protect the green belt. We will start work on a new generation of New Towns to build the homes we need and avoid urban sprawl.
We will make the building of new homes, including council homes, a priority through our National Transformation Fund, as part of a joined-up industrial and skills strategy that ensures a vibrant construction sector with a skilled workforce and rights at work.
Labour will not only build more, we will build better. We will insulate more homes to help people manage the cost of energy bills, to reduce preventable winter deaths, and to meet our climate change targets. We will consult on new rules on minimum space standards to prevent 'rabbit hutch’ properties and on new modern standards for building 'zero carbon homes’.
We will ensure that local plans address the need for older people’s housing, ensuring that choice and downsizing options are readily available.
We will keep the Land Registry in public hands, where it belongs, and make ownership of land more transparent.
Labour will invest to build over a million new homes.
The number of home-owning households has fallen by 900,000 for the under-45s since 2010.
Labour will back first-time buyers to buy that special first home. The number of affordable homes to buy has plummeted by two-thirds under the Conservatives, so we will build thousands more low-cost homes reserved for first-time buyers. We will guarantee Help to Buy funding until 2027 to give long-term certainty to both first-time buyers and the housebuilding industry. We will also give local people buying their first home 'first dibs’ on new homes built in their area to give them confidence that new homes will be available to them and their families.
After seven years of failure under the Conservatives, Labour will build the new homes first-time buyers need - just as Labour councils have been doing right across the country, building an average of nearly 1,000 more new homes than Conservative councils.
We will back those who own their homes, including home-owners who own their home as leaseholders and who are currently unprotected from rises in 'ground rent’ from developers or management companies. A Labour government will give leaseholders security from rip-off ground rents and end the routine use of leasehold houses in new developments.
We will end insecurity for private renters by introducing controls on rent rises, more secure tenancies, landlord licensing and new consumer rights for renters.
Soaring rents are a real problem - leading to more families living in temporary accommodation, more people sleeping rough, and many not having enough money to save up for a deposit or for a rainy day.
Labour will make new three-year tenancies the norm, with an inflation cap on rent rises. Given the particular pressures in London we will look at giving the Mayor the power to give renters in London additional security. We will legislate to ban letting agency fees for tenants.
We will also empower tenants to call time on bad landlords by giving renters new consumer rights. Renters are spending £9.6 billion a year on homes that the government classes as 'non-decent’. Around a quarter of this is paid by housing benefit. A Labour government would introduce new legal minimum standards to ensure properties are 'fit for human habitation’ and empower tenants to take action if their rented homes are sub-standard.
We will reverse the cruel decision to abolish housing benefit for 18 to 21- year-olds, which risks putting even more vulnerable young people on our streets.
COUNCIL AND SOCIAL TENANTS
Under the Conservatives, affordable housebuilding has fallen to a 24-year low. Labour will build the genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy that the country needs.
We will remove government restrictions that stop councils building homes and begin the biggest council building programme for at least 30 years. We will ditch the Conservatives’ ban on long-term council tenancies to give council tenants security in their homes. We want more people to have a secure tenancy in a home built to high standards. Labour will scrap the punitive bedroom tax, which has caused many people to be evicted from their home and their community.
More council homes have been sold off under the Conservatives and only one in five have been replaced, despite long housing waiting lists. Labour will suspend the right-to-buy policy to protect affordable homes for local people, with councils only able to resume sales if they can prove they have a plan to replace homes sold like-for-like.
Homelessness is not inevitable in a country as decent and well off as ours. However, since 2010 the number of people sleeping rough in shop doorways and on park benches has more than doubled. This shames us all. There can be no excuses – it must end. Full stop.
More families are living in temporary accommodation, meaning 120,000 children spent last Christmas without a home to call their own.
This growing homelessness shames the Conservatives. The spiralling rise in street homelessness results directly from decisions made by the Conservatives on pay, housing, mental health and social security.
Labour will set out a new national plan to end rough sleeping within the next Parliament, starting by making available 4,000 additional homes reserved for people with a history of rough sleeping. We will also take action to tackle the root causes of homelessness, including safeguarding homeless hostels and other supported housing from crude Conservative cuts to housing benefit.