Brown to wrongfoot Cameron with 100,000 new eco-homes

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Gordon Brown will today seek to drive a wedge between David Cameron and Tory voters by announcing plans to build 100,000 homes in five new "eco-towns".

The Chancellor is daring the Conservative leader to oppose the new programme to build affordable, environmentally sustainable homes to help first-time buyers on to the property ladder.

The proposal - the first substantive policy since the launch of his campaign to become Labour's next leader on Friday - envisages five towns of around 10,000 homes each built to "zero-carbon" standards.

The first "eco-town" is planned for Cambridgeshire on the site of a former military barracks. Its electricity will be supplied by wind and solar sources.

Although some may be built on existing countryside, the Chancellor will stress that the most of the new homes will be constructed on used land.

Mr Cameron dropped his party's opposition to new house-building programmes last year saying "nimby' attitudes should not frustrate the hopes of young families. But Mr Brown hopes to exploit disquiet in Tory heartlands in the South-east over the issue by announcing the major new housebuilding programme.

He said: "If we are to meet the aspirations of every young couple to do the best for themselves and their children, then we need to build new homes, and we need to deliver well-planned, green and prosperous communities where they will want to live."