Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey have launched Labour’s affordable housing review and Green Paper consultation which proposes to build a million new genuinely affordable homes over 10 years, the majority for social rent, and a new definition of affordable housing linked to incomes.
The review, ‘Housing for the Many’, was initiated by Jeremy Corbyn during his speech to Labour Conference last year in Brighton and the work has been led by Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey MP.
The review sets out the Party’s aim to make affordable housing available to a broad range of people on ordinary incomes, including the ‘real middle’ of households that are currently too well-off for existing social housing, but struggle to afford to buy a home. It will also outline Labour's plans to build housing at a scale not seen since the 1970s.
Amongst the proposals set out for consultation are:
- redefining ‘affordable housing’ by scrapping the Conservatives’ so-called ‘Affordable Rent’ at up to 80% of market rents, and introducing a new definition linked to incomes including: social rent, living rent and low-cost ownership
- a new ‘duty to deliver’ affordable housing for councils, with a new needs assessment and enhanced ‘new homes bonus’ for affordable housing
- a new English Sovereign Land Trust to make more land available, more cheaply
- new borrowing freedoms and central funding to get councils and housing associations building at scale
- a fully-fledged new Department for Housing, which will drive through our New Deal on housing.
Specifically to deal with the problems raised by the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower, the Green Paper proposes:
- a new ‘Decent Homes 2’ target for social landlords, to include fire safety for the first time
- a new independent national organisation and a Commissioner to represent the views of tenants
- new reforms to increase transparency in the social housing sector by extending the Freedom of Information Act to housing associations and ensuring the routine public release of fire safety reports
- fast-track reforms to allow tenants to take council and housing association landlords to court if their homes aren’t safe
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, said:
“When housing has become a site of speculation for a wealthy few, leaving the many unable to access a decent, secure home, something has gone seriously wrong.
“Luxury flats proliferate across our big cities, while social housing is starved of investment and too many people are living in dangerous accommodation at the mercy of rogue landlords.
“We need to restore the principle that a decent home is a right owed to all, not a privilege for the few. And the only way to deliver on that right for everyone, regardless of income, is through social housing.
“When the post-war Labour government built hundreds of thousands of council houses in a single term in office, they transformed millions of people’s lives.
“This Green Paper will look at how to fix our broken housing system, so that it works for the many, not the few.”
John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said:
“The housing market is broken and current Conservative housing policy is failing to fix it. We have to build more affordable homes to make homes more affordable.
“The Conservatives won’t do this, so the next Labour government must, by hardwiring Labour’s new affordable housing throughout the system, from housebuilding targets to investment priorities to planning rules.
“This Green Paper sets out our plan to change the country’s approach to affordable housing as part of a new national mission to solve the country’s housing crisis.”