Labour government will make the “difficult choices” when it comes to building more homes, according to the shadow housing secretary.
Lisa Nandy will use a speech to criticise the 17 Conservative housing ministers who have been in charge since 2010 for being “too cowardly to take on a land market that inflates prices” and argue that the current system is “rigged against first-time buyers”.
She will vow to “tilt the balance of power back” in favour of those looking to get on the housing ladder, pledging to utilise central government support to “help them make the leap into home ownership”.
In an address to the Housing 2023 conference, the shadow cabinet member will say that Labour will deliver a “refreshed model of housebuilding” that will “put social and genuinely affordable housing at the very heart of our plans to jump-start the housebuilding industry”.
She will also tell developers they can expect “transparent, long-term planning frameworks, quicker decisions and a more stable political environment” as her party looks to solve the national shortage of homes.
We won’t duck the challenge of building the number of houses we need, and the right homes
Ms Nandy will tell a Manchester audience on Wednesday that the Government’s decision to drop its housebuilding target has led to a shift from “bricks to benefits” whereby the Tory government spends 10 times more on housing benefit than on producing affordable homes every year.
Labour has already said it would restore the target of building 300,000 houses a year following Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s decision in December to make it advisory rather than mandatory as he looked to see off a potential Tory backbench rebellion.
Mr Sunak has continued to come under fire, including from pro-housing MPs in his own party, for the decision.
Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s leader, said this month that the dropped target meant housebuilding was likely to fall to its lowest level since the Second World War.
Ms Nandy, in pre-briefed comments ahead of her speech, will say: “There are difficult choices that must be faced to build the houses we need.
“And make no mistake — we choose growth.
“A broken market and an absent state is the worst of all worlds.
“(Labour) won’t duck the challenge of building the number of houses we need — and the right homes.”
Ms Nandy will set out how Labour plans to create a new generation of local development corporations, spearheaded by and accountable to communities, if it wins the next general election, which is expected to be held in 2024.
Her party, which is well ahead of the Tories in opinion polls, has separately committed to overhauling how land is valued under the compulsory purchase order process in order to speed up new developments.
It has also pledged to free up parts of the green belt for development.
The green belt refers to the policy of leaving an area of land around a city or town undeveloped or set aside for agricultural use to prevent urban sprawl.
“We will be honest about what the green belt is and isn’t,” Ms Nandy is expected to say.
“We will release poor-quality ex-industrial land and dilapidated, neglected scrubland to build more housing.
“A sensible, strategic approach that ends a decade of potholing on the high-quality green belt and helps us tackle the housing crisis.”