Labour Party Conference: Labour ‘will build 200,000 homes a year by 2020,’ says Ed Miliband

Miliband to target housing shortage and  energy companies in conference speech

Ed Miliband will today promise to relieve Britain’s housing crisis by more than doubling the number of new homes being built to 200,000 a year, if Labour regains power.

In his speech to his party’s conference in Brighton, he will unveil an ambitious “road map” to tackle the housing shortage that will include another generation of new towns and garden cities. A Rebuilding Britain Commission, headed by Sir Michael Lyons, the former BBC Trust chairman, will draw up plans to raise the number of new homes being built each year from 87,000 to 200,000 by 2020. The pledge will be a flagship measure in Labour’s manifesto at the 2015 election.

Towns would be given “a right to grow” over their boundaries even when house building is opposed by neighbouring local authorities responsible for planning decisions. Decisions would be fast-tracked to prevent disputes between councils causing delays.

Developers who sit on “land banks” would be hit by a “use it or lose it” law. Councils could impose escalating fees to give them an incentive to build on sites with planning permission, backed up by new compulsory purchase powers if they still hoard the land.

The commission will start to identify sites for new towns and garden cities in coming months so the blueprint could be implemented on day one of a Labour government. Controversially, planning decisions on their location would be taken by ministers, allowing them to over-ride local objections. The sweeping proposals are bound to put Labour at odds with countryside campaigners, who will fear that the green belt would be put at risk.

In his speech, Mr Miliband is also expected to announce measures to rein in energy companies, ease the transition from school to work and ensure the UK becomes a “world-leading green economy”.

He will claim that Labour is now the “party of small business” as he promises a tax cut for small firms financed by higher taxes on big companies. He will reposition his party as on the side of “the many, not the few” for businesses as well as individuals, as he draws a clear dividing line with the Conservatives. An incoming Labour government in 2015 would halt a cut in corporation tax, from 21 to 20 per cent, already announced for that year by George Osborne, which is due to benefit about 80,000 large companies by more than £1bn over two years.

Instead, Labour would spend the money on a two-year freeze in business rates for 1.5 million small business premises such as shops, pubs, workshops and hi-tech firms. They would save an average of £450 over two years, with some left £2,000 better off.

Labour sources said the switch was a “big marker” about the party’s attitude towards business. Ed Miliband will say: “Most of the jobs of the future are going to be created in a large number of small businesses, not a small number of large businesses. And most of the new jobs that British people will be doing in 15 years’ time will be in new companies. That’s why we have to support our small businesses, the vibrant, dynamic businesses that will create wealth in Britain.

“For too long in this country, we’ve supported some businesses and not others. Since this Government came to power, it has cut corporation tax on large businesses by £6bn. At the same time, taxes have gone up for small businesses.”

The “Robin Hood” move will also govern Labour’s approach to individuals, as Mr Miliband champions “the many” while claiming that David Cameron looks after the interests of “the few”. He will say: “They used to say ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’. Now the rising tide just seems to lift the yachts.”

He will accuse Mr Cameron of embarking on a “race to the bottom”, driving down wages and leaving working people the losers after the longest fall in living standards since 1870. 

Echoing the Republican Ronald Reagan, who in 1980 urged Americans to ask whether they were better off than they were four years ago when he defeated the incumbent Jimmy Carter for the presidency, Mr Miliband will say: “At the general election in 2015, you should ask yourself: am I better off now than I was five years ago? You’ve made the sacrifices. But you’ve not got the rewards. You were the first one into the recession, but you are the last one out.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing