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After Seven Years Of Failure On Housing Under The Tories, The Country Needs A New Deal Under Labour

05/06/2017 17:06
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Everyone knows someone affected by the housing crisis. From young people still stuck with their parents, to families in short-term private rented homes, to children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews struggling to buy a first home. Home is at the centre of all our lives. Yet under the Conservatives, housing pressures have got worse, not better.

What's more, after seven years of failure, it's clear Tory Ministers have no plan to fix the country's housing crisis. Theresa May's manifesto confirmed that on housing she only offers more of the same for the next five years. The 'carry on Conservatives', with no serious attempt to fix what has gone wrong since 2010 and to help families on ordinary incomes with the worsening housing pressures they face. Ministers admit the housing market is broken but when the country needs a government that will step in, they have stepped back. And many of the decisions that the Conservatives have made on housing since 2010 are making the problems worse.
 
They've withdrawn from building new affordable homes so the number has fallen to the lowest level in 24 years, with the number of new social rented homes at the lowest level on record.
 
They've done too little for first-time buyers on ordinary incomes so home-ownership has fallen to a thirty-year low, with 900,000 fewer under-45s now owning their home than in 2010.
 
They've stripped away protections for people who need help with housing, so shockingly the number of people sleeping rough on our streets has more than doubled, and homelessness of all types is rising.
 
They've cut investment and outsourced responsibility for building new homes to big developers, so since 2010 fewer new homes have been built on average than under any governing party in peacetime since the 1920s.

We can't go on like this. We need to draw a line under the failings of the past seven years, and the shortcomings of the last forty years. In short, on housing we need a New Deal between the people of this country and a new government. A bold, long-term plan for housing that demands more of those who can help fix our housing crisis, and offers more to those who we are currently failing.

That's what Labour's New Deal on housing offers. We'll start by setting up a fully-fledged new Department for Housing for the first time to spearhead our new deal on housing and tackle the housing crisis. It'll give our measures to tackle the housing crisis a priority in government that Britain's not seen since the decades straight after the Second World War.

We'll do more on housebuilding with at least a million new homes over the next Parliament, and 100,000 genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy a year by the final year of the next Parliament, including a new era of council housebuilding with the biggest programme in more than 30 years.

We'll back first-time buyers with 'first dibs' on new homes built in your area, build 100,000 new discounted FirstBuy Homes linked to local average incomes and offer first time buyers two years free of stamp duty.

We'll help private renters with new consumer rights, require landlords to bring properties up to scratch and make three year tenancies the norm, with an inflation cap on rents.

And we'll deal with the most damning failure of the last seven years of failure on housing - rapidly escalating rough sleeping, which shames us all in a country as decent and well-off as ours. We will launch a new national mission and plan to end rough sleeping within the next Parliament, with action to tackle the root causes of rising homelessness.

After seven years of failure, the election this week offers a real choice on housing - five more years of the same, or a bold, broad and long-term plan to fix the housing crisis with Labour.

John Healey is the shadow minister for housing and Labour candidate in Wentworth and Dearne

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