Labour would fix the housing crisis?

Labour would fix the housing crisis?

14:58 PM, 27th September 2021, About 2 months ago 18

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In her Labour Party Conference Speech, Lucy Powell, Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, said that she sees housing as very much a public health issue.

Lucy wants to tackle what she perceives as issues of quality, affordability and security in private rentals and end No-Fault Evictions.

When it comes to the cladding issue Lucy says Labour would create a Building Works Agency to assess, fix and fund and then certify all tall buildings. Then pursue those responsible for costs and put in law that leaseholders won’t pay.

They will give first-time buyers ‘first dibs’ on new developments, and put an end to the practice of foreign hedge funds purchasing swathes of new homes, off-plan.

The definition of affordable homes will not be linked to over-heated market rates but set from a new definition linked to local wages.

Labour will give local authorities new powers to buy and develop land for housing, and revitalise town centres, by reforming arcane compensation rules. This could generate up to 100,000 new homes a year, much of which social and affordable.

Full conference speech below:

“Those who know me, know I’m a proud Mancunian. Manchester is in my DNA.

My experiences growing up, living and now representing Manchester have shaped my politics. The city’s been transformed over my lifetime, mainly for the better.

However, some of the harsh inequalities of my youth have widened after years of Conservative rule.

Nowhere more than in housing.

The semi-detached I grew up in, bought on the basic salaries of a teacher and social worker, now totally out of reach for my kids. My grandparents’ old house – Irish immigrants who took huge pride in their small garden – now in a street full of neglected buy-to-lets.

The terraced houses formerly of aspiring factory workers, now over-crowded, poor quality rentals. The once derelict City Centre transformed, but the ancient laws of leasehold not working for homeowners.

Most now wait for years for a Council House.

I see all around me the housing crisis.

Manchester Labour is rising to the challenge, albeit, with its hands tied behind its back. Their approach inspires mine.

We’ve lost somewhere that housing isn’t simply an asset to be traded, but the fundamental cornerstone of a successful life.

Covid came and shone a bright light on these divides too, when home had new meaning.

Between those in comfortable homes and those on the streets, or in insecure, unaffordable, or overcrowded homes.

We saw that housing is very much a public health issue.

Through history, after a crisis of this magnitude, we have built a better future.

Homes fit for Heroes after World War One.

The Attlee Government putting housing at the heart of post-war Britain.

New settlements – needed once in every generation.

Conference, that moment for us is now.

It starts with understanding the roots of our current crisis.

The Conservatives see housing as a commodity: to be traded, profited from, part of an investment portfolio, a pension pot, not as the bedrock of stable lives and life chances.

Their record speaks for itself: Record numbers living in insecure private rents, a huge net loss of social housing.

And with over-heated prices and homeowner numbers down – they can’t even claim the mantle of homeownership anymore.

The link between wages and housing costs is now broken, leaving millions exposed to the universal credit cut.

And their woeful record of switching our homes to green, means we are very vulnerable to the current energy crisis.

Four years on from the tragedy at Grenfell, we’ve got a Building safety scandal – a tragic symbol of housing policy gone wrong: deregulation, no oversight, an unwillingness to intervene.

Leaving hundreds of thousands of innocent leaseholders trapped in unsellable homes. The so-called party of home-ownership rings very hollow to them.

But I hear we have Michael Gove coming to the rescue!

Do me a favour.

Ask the teachers! Less a knight in shining armour, a wrecking ball more like!

We’ve got a plan: a Building Works Agency to assess, fix and fund and then certify all tall buildings. Then pursue those responsible for costs.

And we would put in law that leaseholders won’t pay.

We aren’t afraid to take on the tough challenges that our New Settlement demands.

We will be bold, radical, forward thinking, and empowering.

And conference, on housing I think we can agree – let’s move on from the false choices:

A new settlement must include a massive increase in council and social homes, fit for all ages.

That means we can’t continue with the huge net loss in council houses resulting from Right to Buy and its huge discount.

I see no contradiction in us also promoting home-ownership – not for more landlords or second homes, but for ordinary working people – nurses, electricians, delivery drivers and care workers – currently priced out.

Their aspirations for home-ownership will be met by Labour.

Central to this is bold action on restoring the link between wages and housing costs.

And tackling the thorny issues of quality, affordability and security in private rentals.

Ending rough sleeping. And No-Fault Evictions.

Meeting our climate targets.

Housing as a human right – all at the heart of our New Settlement.

It’s not easy – but solutions are already out there.

That’s why we are launching our Great Housing Challenge: learning from Labour councils, our fantastic Mayors and trailblazing Welsh Government.

Developing our housing plan together.

A key part of this vision is building more truly affordable homes.

For too long, speculators and developers have held most of the cards – ducking minimal commitments, extracting huge value from the public for land, and doing too little for first time buyers and local people.

That’s why Labour will give local authorities new powers to buy and develop land for housing, and revitalise town centres, by reforming arcane compensation rules.

This could generate up to 100,000 new homes a year, much of which social and affordable.

The current definition of affordable is anything but, linked to over-heated market rates. We will set a new definition linked to local wages.

We will close loopholes that let developers wriggle out of commitments.

We will give first time buyers first dibs on new developments, and put an end to the outrageous practise of foreign hedge funds purchasing swathes of new homes, off plan.

These reforms, a first step to put housing at the heart of the battle for Downing Street.

Labour, the Party of home-owners and tenants, the Tories, the Party of speculators and developers.

Labour, once in a generation, fixing the housing crisis with a New Settlement.

Where everyone has the right to a safe, secure, stable, warm, truly affordable home.

The bedrock to a successful, happy life.

That time is now, and together we can rise to it.”



Comments

by Ross Tulloch

9:22 AM, 2nd October 2021, About 2 months ago

Minimum room sizes, sometimes arbitrary, or at least 6.51m, on already built (for me ex council) properties mean that I have had to sell 3 properties evicting 12 tenants because suddenly it was decided that it is better to have an empty room than someone happily living in it. (these rooms had always let first because of location and cost). Still not sure how this helps anyone.

by Dancinglandlord

10:04 AM, 2nd October 2021, About 2 months ago

The argument about immigration is being exposed by the problems we’re seeing with the movement of goods. Who will staff our hospitals? Care homes? … perhaps you’d like to bus these working people in and out of the country daily 😉

by Whiteskifreak Surrey

17:20 PM, 2nd October 2021, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Dancinglandlord at 02/10/2021 - 10:04
Who will staff these institutions?
It is clear you have not heard the brexit argument.
These jobs were STOLEN by the EU thieves, trying to work here and in the same time drawing at limited resources, and benefiting LLs from the rent they paid.
These jobs are now available to the Great British Workers, who for years complained about their jobs being stolen.
No longer the case.
No queues of those workers either...
that is brexit for you
Enjoy.

by Chris @ Possession Friend

10:04 AM, 3rd October 2021, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Dancinglandlord at 02/10/2021 - 10:04This country is paying far too many Brits to stay at home and smoke dope and watch the telly, rather than going to work.
Britain isn't short of people who 'could' work, just short of people who 'want ' to work.

by Bryan Smith

16:53 PM, 3rd October 2021, About 2 months ago

Benefits were to catch those in trouble, temporary need and see them through until they get back into work.. For many it is now a way of life. Low wages is a problem although JL wants to pay £50k py for drivers now. Council/ex-council estate nearby has many "workers" who do not go to work. They do part-time cash in hand jobs. Claim full benefits and all that goes with it. Our ex-gardener lives in a 3 bed, on full benefits, can even afford 2 dogs. Council recently upgraded his heating system (new boiler, rads) then gave him a new bathroom. He is due for kitchen upgrade too. He is capable and a bit of an entrepeneur collecting other peoples junk and selling it on. Trashed the house with his collections and drinks way too much (expensive?). He does pretty well so why on earth would he want to go to work. He needs help on a one to one basis. Can labour organise that?

by Chris @ Possession Friend

17:56 PM, 3rd October 2021, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Bryan Smith at 03/10/2021 - 16:53Yes Bryan, but worse still, its become a generational culture that's been passed down. Young women from such families learn that its easier to knock out a few sprogs, ( have everything on the tax-payer ) than go to 'work'
As for the men [ using that work very generically ] they sell a bit of dope, as I said.
The whole benefit system is making mugs out of those that work !

by Michael Holmes

15:47 PM, 17th November 2021, About 2 weeks ago

Until we can stop the present population explosion, we are never going to get on top of the housing shortage. Maybe when the last bit of building land has been built on and every field is up for grabs, then maybe someone will see seen several, but I am not optimistic.

by Chris @ Possession Friend

16:12 PM, 17th November 2021, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Holmes at 17/11/2021 - 15:47
Quite, it would also be helpful to our personal and National security if illegal Terrorist asylum seekers were excluded !


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