Labour intensive

Ellie Naismith

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Expect to hear cries from Labour of the “lowest level of housebuilding in peacetime Britain” and of “lights out developments” sold to foreign buyers, echoing across the election battlefields. Labour will promote three key pledges in the run up to May, with ambitions to build 200,000 new homes each year by 2020.

Use it or lose it
In the spirit of devolution which is likely to pervade much of the debate during this year’s campaign, Labour wants to kick start housebuilding on approved sites with “use it or lose it” permissions. Labour is promising local authorities new powers to charge fees or compulsory purchase sites that have already been granted planning permission.

Empty Homes
Labour will be looking to target a number of seats in London in May, where the housing crisis is high on the political agenda. Their response is to target foreign investors; under a Labour government, homes would be advertised in the UK before being advertised overseas, and homeowners will be charged for leaving homes empty.

New Towns and Garden Cities
As well as new towns and garden cities, Labour would like to give the “right to grow” (not build) to towns and villages that would like to expand but are struggling to work in harmony with neighbouring authorities.

The most controversial Labour housing policy is, of course, the Mansion tax, which has proven divisive among Labour’s own MPs. Labour is seeking to tax properties over £2m to fund greater NHS spending. Although a number of London Labour authorities would prefer to keep the extra money for themselves.

Ellie Naismith