Labour to start building homes within months of getting into government – Rayner

The deputy Labour leader said the party wanted to start creating ‘towns of the future’ within their first term.

Katie Dickinson
Tuesday 21 May 2024 12:20 BST
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said that her party would begin building new homes within months of getting into government (Danny Lawson/PA)
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said that her party would begin building new homes within months of getting into government (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)

Labour would start building new homes “within months” of getting into government, Angela Rayner has said.

The deputy Labour leader said the party wanted to start creating “towns of the future” within their first term.

Speaking in Leeds at the UK Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum (UKREiiF), a property industry conference, Ms Rayner, who is also the shadow housing secretary, said Labour would set up an expert independent taskforce to help choose the right sites to develop.

“A list of projects will be announced within our first 12 months of government, so we can start building the towns of the future within months, not decades,” she said.

Ms Rayner told the conference that Britain was in the middle of a housing crisis with a planning system that has “become gummed up” and reiterated Labour’s commitment to re-introduce local housing targets.

“When Rishi Sunak binned this policy, he did so because he’s too weak to stand up to his own MPs and now the public is paying the price.

“We’re already seeing the consequences for house building rates across England,” she said.

Ms Rayner said she would not simply demand “more units, at any cost” and promised Labour’s “next generation of New Towns” would be “homes fit for the future” inspired by garden suburbs like Hale in Manchester, Roundhay in Leeds and the Garden City project.

She told the conference the plans will include a New Towns Code meaning developers must deliver:

• More social and affordable homes – with a gold standard aim of 40%

Buildings with character, in tree-lined streets that fit in with nearby areas

• Design that pays attention to local history and identity

• Planning fit for the future, with good links to town and city centres

• Guaranteed public transport and public services, from doctors’ surgeries to schools

• Access to nature, parks and places for children to play.

Together, we will unleash the biggest wave of affordable and social housing in a generation

Angela Rayner, Labour deputy leader

Ms Rayner said: “Our local housing recovery plan will reverse the Conservatives’ damaging changes to planning, getting stalled sites moving at speed.

“We’ll give Mayors the tools they need to deliver homes in their areas, revitalising brownfield first, unlocking ugly, disused grey belt land for housebuilding and setting tough new conditions for releasing that land.

“Our ‘golden rules’ will ensure any grey belt development delivers affordable homes, new public services and improved green spaces.

“This means more social and affordable homes and we will ensure that brownfield sites are approved quicker so homes get built fast.

“Together, we will unleash the biggest wave of affordable and social housing in a generation.”

We’ll end the mediaeval leasehold system, with root and branch reform, and we will build the houses that the next generation so desperately needs

Angela Rayner, Labour deputy leader

In the speech, Ms Rayner also said Labour would unlock government grants to deliver new homes and make the Affordable Homes Programme more flexible.

She told delegates she would be working with shadow environment secretary Steve Reed to develop new policies for planting trees, restoring habitats and “helping wildlife thrive”.

Ms Rayner restated Labour’s commitment to ban no-fault evictions and “give first-time buyers first dibs on new developments in their communities, with a comprehensive mortgage guarantee scheme for those who don’t have access to the bank of mum and dad”.

“We’ll end the mediaeval leasehold system, with root and branch reform, and we will build the houses that the next generation so desperately needs,” she said.

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