Labour housing

What a Labour government would do to the UK’s housing market

The Labour party has outlined its plans for how it would tackle the country’s property market if it were to gain power as it puts the UK’s housing crisis at the top of its agenda.

Affordable housing is a top priority for the Labour party, according to leader Jeremy Corbyn, who says he believes that living in a decent home should be a right for everyone in the UK, not a privilege.

The party has pledged to increase the country’s affordable housing stock by one million in 10 years – which would include a certain amount of homes available for those who do not qualify for a council house.

Low-to-middle income families could take advantage of these “living rent homes”, as well as key workers and young people, with rents set at no more than a third of the average local household income, making them more expensive than existing social housing but cheaper than renting from most private landlords.

Making land available

With a shortage of usable land in the UK stifling housebuilding, Labour would create a new “English Land Sovereign Trust” which would be backed by compulsory purchase powers on land. It would mean landowners, who can currently hold onto their land and wait for values to rise, would lose some of the value created through obtaining planning permission.

In some areas, such planning permission can lead agricultural land values to leap from £21,000 to £2.1m per hectare, and the move would therefore discourage land-banking and allow more properties to be built.

Council borrowing

Under Labour’s plans, councils and housing associations would also be given more borrowing freedoms for housing development, as well as central funding, allowing local authorities to build up their housing revenues and generally giving them more autonomy to manage their regions.

According to Corbyn, councils across England would face a “duty to deliver affordable homes”. By allowing councils to borrow money in order to build more homes, they can create and improve their communities, tackling the housing crisis on a local basis.

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