Britain is in the midst of the biggest housing crisis in a generation. The yawning gap between the number of houses being built and the number of people in need of a home is unprecedented.
David Cameron has presided over the lowest level of housebuilding since the 1920s, when you exclude the period of the World Wars. The number of homes built for social rents is at its lowest for at least 20 years.
And this crisis is not just confined to the South East, its right across the country and here in the North East & Cumbria.
In our region, the number of people on the waiting lists of our Councils and Housing Associations topped 71,000 in 2013/2014. The total number of social and affordable homes for rent in the same year was just 2,690. A massive shortfall of over 68,000 homes.
At that rate of building it will take 25 years to clear the lists, and that assumes that nobody else joins.
Labour today announced our better plan to tackle the housing crisis.
Our New £5billion Future Homes Fund will be used to pump prime investment in Housing Growth Areas – new sites where local first time buyers will get priority – to unlock hundreds of thousands of homes.
Taking its inspiration from the 1920s when an era of home building was kick-started by the Addison Act and the issue of Housing Bonds it will be used to build 125,000 homes over the course of the next parliament
The new investment fund will not require any additional borrowing or spending because it will be financed by the new First Time Buyer ISA announced in last month’s Budget.
Labour supports the scheme because it delivers some help to families struggling to get on the housing ladder. However, unlike the Tories, a Labour government will tackle the under-supply of new homes rather than merely supporting further demand which leads to ever higher prices for first time buyers.
This new announcement will help us fulfil our promise of building 200,000 new homes built a year by 2020 in the places where local communities want them. In addition, we’ll force developers to build on land they own by giving local authorities “use it or lose it” powers. We’ll shake up the housing market to inject more competition from small builders. And we’ll make affordable and social housing a priority for capital investment so that government spending on this key issue moves from benefits to bricks.
We’ll also look after the interest of renters; creating stable three-year tenancies, putting a ceiling on excessive rent rises and banning letting agents fees.
Labour will give young people and young families the start in life they deserve, a start with a chance of a home of their own.