New towns and garden cities promised by Labour ahead of General Election

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Labour will increase housebuilding through a new generation of towns and garden cities if they win the General Election

The end of the election campaign has arrived, with polling stations opening for voting to take place this morning. One of the main topics of discussion behind Brexit and security has been housing.

For the construction sector this is undoubtedly a key issue, and both parties have pledged support for housing within their manifestos.

Labour said if it wins the election it will create a whole new generation of towns and garden cities during the next parliament. They will also support councils to build more affordable homes through the planning process and ensure housebuilding rates increase through new town hall powers.

Affordable housing

Labour’s mini housing manifesto was launched by John Healey earlier this week and promised to start consultations “with local areas on the best location for new settlements, and explore the potential for urban extensions to existing towns and cities” within a year of taking office.

Furthermore, the party said it would establish a Department of Housing. This would help to build “genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy”.

The manifesto stated that: “Ministers will be challenged at each step by a new OBR-style Office for Housing Delivery – an independent auditor of housebuilding projections, delivery plans and progress against government targets.”

Housing delivery has always been something of a challenge, with the Conservatives pledging a million homes by 2020 during their tenure in power. However, delivering that figure proved a challenge, one that was not met. Now, Labour are stating they will meet that same target over the course of the next parliament if they win the election today.

“We will set a further target that by 2022 we will reach and then sustain housebuilding at a level of 250,000 homes a year,” the document adds.

Housing and Planning Bill

A new Housing and Planning Bill would also be on the cards under a Labour government. This would set out the “legal changes needed for our programme, including new powers for local authorities, updated new towns legislation and new rights for private renters”.

Healey said the proposals was “a bold, long-term plan for housing to help those being let down most by a broken housing market and failing Conservative policy – young first-time buyers, private renters and people needing new social rented homes”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would look to help people with housing. He said: “A Labour government will start on fixing the housing crisis immediately. High prices, excessive rents and the chronic lack of affordable housing are ruining the lives of young people, families and aspiring homeowners.”

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