Miliband: 'Labour Will Stop Councils Blocking New Homes'

Labour 'Will Stop Councils Blocking New Homes'
Ed Miliband is to pledge 200,000 new homes
Ed Miliband is to pledge 200,000 new homes
Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images

Ed Miliband is set to pledge that Labour will tackle a crisis in the housing market, saying a chronic lack of affordable homes means a generation of young people feel they will never afford to invite their parents to Christmas dinner in a home they own.

First announced at September's party conference, Labour will launch on Monday an independent Housing Commission led by Sir Michael Lyons, the former BBC Trust chairman, who has been asked to draw up a road map for increasing the supply of new homes in England to more than 200,000 a year by the end of the next parliament.

Visiting Stevenage, the Labour leader will say his party will lead a "non-stop drive" to build new homes, by making it harder for locals to oppose housing being built in their area, and developers who "hoard land".

He will criticise what he calls "consultations galore, planning permission granted and lengthy appeals" by "stick in the mud" North Hertfordshire Council, who he accused of blocking 10,000 new homes "every step of the way".

"The only winners have been lawyers, on whom Stevenage has had to spend more than £500,000 since 2001 on this issue alone," he will say.

Miliband, who could well be criticised by countryside campaigners for not taking the views of local residents into consideration with his home building drives, will say he is not trying to do away with consultation.

“Of course it is right that local communities have a say about where housing goes," the MP will say.

"But councils cannot be allowed to frustrate continually the efforts of others councils to get homes built. So the next Labour government will unblock this planning process and unlock the potential to build tens of thousands of new homes where they are needed.”

Miliband will promise Labour will confront "those councils that block homes, those developers that hoard land and this government that fails to act on the worst housing shortages for a generation."

“David Cameron is presiding over the lowest levels of homes built in peacetime since the 1920s," he will say.

“The Government has focused almost solely on increasing demand for housing and, while tinkering with planning rules, has done next-to-nothing to increase supply.

"The result is a broken market where it now takes ordinary families over 20 years to save enough for a deposit and those renting privately are paying as much as half their income on rent.

“At this time of year, when family is so important, there are parents who fear their children will never get a place of their own.

"And there are millions of young people who fear they may never be able to get on the housing ladder; never invite their parents round for Christmas dinner."

Four Labour-controlled councils – Stevenage, Oxford, Luton and York – will become the first “Right to Grow” local authorities, with the potential to build 40,000 new homes in each area.

In the speech, Miliband will also criticise the “profits for our four biggest housing developers [which] are going through the roof.

“But there are large amounts of land – enough to build more than a million homes - earmarked for houses which have not been built."

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