With more than 2,000 people waiting for a council home in Sedgemoor – but not a single home built here last year, Labour pledges a “housing revolution” with the biggest council house building programme for decades. Labour’s manifesto launching tomorrow (Thursday) will include new plans for the biggest council and social housing programme in decades to transform the lives of millions of people struggling to afford a decent home because of the housing crisis. The new plans will be paid for with funding from Labour’s Social Transformation Fund. Half of Labour’s Social Transformation Fund – around £75bn over five years – will be allocated to housing.
Labour candidate for Bridgwater and West Somerset, Oliver Thornton, supports the programme saying “The homes will be built to cutting edge design and green standards, with Labour citing the new, award winning Goldsmith Street council development in Labour-led Norwich as an example of what Labour’s modern council housing could look like.”
What Labour’s plans will mean:
- scaling up council house building so that we are building 100,000 council homes a year by the end of the parliament, a more than 3,500% increase.
- building at least 50,000 additional genuinely affordable homes a year through Housing Associations by the end of the parliament.
- at least 150,000 new council and social homes a year within five years, delivering the biggest council housebuilding programme since the years immediately after the Second World War, and the biggest overall affordable housebuilding programme since the 1960s.
New figures show that at the current rate of building of council and social homes (fewer than 10 homes per year), it would take over 200 years to house all 2,096 people on council housing waiting lists in a social rented home.
Oliver added “The number of socially rented homes being built in Sedgemoor has fallen from 238 in 2010/11, when the last Labour government’s funding for councils was still being delivered, to no homes at all in 2017/18, the last financial year for which there are figures. Since 2010, local authorities have been prevented from building adequate social housing by the Tories and Lib Dems, with council budgets cut by £16bn since they came to power. Despite more than a million households being stuck on council waiting lists, affordable housing was one of the first and deepest cuts the Conservatives made after 2010, and Government figures show that last year the number of Government-funded affordable homes for social rent built fell by 90%, to fewer than 1,000, while Government figures suggest fewer than 3,000 council homes were built.”
Helping Young and Old alike
Oliver said “Last week, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that over the last two decades, there has been a 46% increase in the number of young people aged 20-34 living with their parents. The scale of Labour’s building programme will mean that homes will be available in every area for families, trapped younger renters, and older people in sub-standard homes. As part of the new programme, Labour will scrap the Conservatives’ bogus definition of ‘affordable’ housing replacing it with a new Labour definition linked to local incomes, including social rent – which works out at around half the level of market rents – alongside new living rent and homes for low-cost ownership.”
Housing for the Many not the Few
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, said: “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. Everyone knows someone affected by the housing crisis. Labour is offering real change to fix it.”
John Healey, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said: “The next Labour Government will kick-start a housing revolution, with the biggest investment in new council and social homes this country has seen for decades. Labour’s transformational housing plans will mean thousands more genuinely affordable homes for people on ordinary incomes in every area of the country.Our modern council and social housing will be built to cutting-edge design and green standards providing a long-term investment in our country’s future.”