On the eve of the election, Labour has released its ‘real change’ manifesto for housing, pitching the plan for at least 150,000 new council and housing association homes a year within five years, with 100,000 new council homes a year for social rent.
“Everyone knows someone affected by the housing crisis: younger people unable to buy a first home, renters trapped in damp flats, families stuck on a council waiting list for years, leasehold home-owners hit by unfair fees, people who are homeless living and dying on our streets,” said shadow housing secretary John Healey.
“The gap between the housing haves and have-nots is at the heart of the injustice in our country today,” he said.
Putting the party’s housing pledges under one roof – underpinned by the social housing pledge – the plan commits to a new £1bn post-Grenfell fire-safety fund and enforcing the replacement of dangerous cladding on all high-rise and high-risk homes.
Private renting is in line for year-one legislation with new rights for renters, including indefinite tenancies, rent controls, and strong enforcement of decent property standards.
But it’s on ownership that the manifesto challenges Tory policy head-on, outlining a new programme of homes for first-time buyers discounted with prices linked to local incomes, ‘first dibs’ for local people on new homes built in their area, action to stabilise house price inflation, and an end to the leasehold scandal.
Land policy opens up an opaque land market, stopping the “fire-sale” of public land and legislating for a new English Sovereign Land Trust to work with councils looking to buy land more cheaply.
And there’s that retrofit programme previously pitched as an upgrade for millions of homes backed by a new zero-carbon homes standard – introduced within three years.
With the party committed to ending rough sleeping within five years, there’s scope for wider action to tackle the causes of homelessness, with new hostel places, more homes for the homeless, additional funding for key council services, and ensuring local housing allowance covers the cost of renting.
Healey bills the programme as the “most ambitious” of its kind in modern times.
“Matching the scale of the housing crisis so many people face, this manifesto sets out our plan to deliver it,” he said.