Labour is about to launch their new Plannning Commission policy at conference.
We caught up with our shadow minister for planning, Roberta Blackman-Woods beforehand to discus the parties ambitions for the NPPF, Local Plans and the Housing Crisis.
Housing was one of the areas chosen for debate by Constituency Labour Parties (it actually topped the ballot) and last night a composite motion was agreed to be debated. It’s practically certain to be agreed.
Composite 1: Housing
The current housing crisis has doubled homelessness since 2010, an increase in families living in temporary accommodation and a drop-in home ownership. Lack of affordable housing, skyrocketing rents, exploitative landlords and poor-quality housing creates a broken housing model that has failed Britain.
The Conservatives’ Social Housing Green Paper offers no funds to build council housing, is a pitiful response to the housing crisis and severely declining levels of affordability in the private rented sector.
Shelters’ recent research evidences that private renters spend on average 41% of income on rent; and many cannot meet housing costs. Shelter called for a new plan for social housing to address the crisis of affordability.
Conference supports this call and investment in social housing is a vital necessity for our country.
– Under the last Labour Government, 2,000,000 homes were built, 1,000,000 more households became home-owners and there was the largest social housing investment in a generation.
– Under the Conservatives, the number of new social rented homes has fallen to the lowest level on record.
– There are now 120,000 children homeless in temporary accommodation, increased by two-thirds since 2010.
– Home ownership is the lowest for 30 years.
– The number of home-owning households under 45 has fallen by 1,000,000 since 2010.
Conference resolves the Labour Party should:
– Put housing at the heart of our efforts to win the next general election.
– Continue to promote the radical measures to fix the housing crisis set out in the 2017 Manifesto.
– Better regulation of Housing Associations as registered social landlords providing social rents and quality homes and repairs
– Deliver 100,000 social rented homes annually with secure lifetime tenancies, and rent and service charges not above 30% of net average incomes for the lowest quartile of households in the relevant housing market area. Other social homes built to be in addition to that number. This is to be an urgent priority, delivered in Labour’s first years in government.
– Remove HRA borrowing cap to allow councils to play a vital role in tackling the crisis which would allow the biggest council housebuilding programme in at least 30 years.
– Commit to an energy efficient building programme of council homes and construction jobs with Direct Labour Organisations taking on council newbuild projects
– End right to buy for Housing Associations and councils.
– Ensure planning consents to developers are time limited.
– End price-fixing by contractors when tendering for council and government contracts.
– Back low and ordinary income households who want to own their own home with discounted homes to buy, first dibs for local people on new homes built in their area.
– Introduce taxation to ensure that properties are indeed in use and not left empty.
– End rough sleeping within a Parliament and tackle the wider causes of rising homelessness, including welfare benefit catastrophes.
– Better regulate the private rented sector, including binding commitments from landlords to maintain properties, ending eviction of tenants who complain about poor housing standards, with secure tenancies.
– Implement government lending for first time buyer deposits.
– Overhaul the building regulations and end deregulation of building controls by privatisation or when managed by arms-length companies and Tenants Management Organisations, as exposed by the Grenfell fire.
– Utilise co-operative housing.
– Legislate to require higher minimum environmental and habitational standards in all new build and improvements in existing build.
– Help private renters with an end to ‘no fault’ evictions, controls on rents and new minimum standards, including three year tenancies as standard.
– Provide land to local authorities for building council housing, including allocation of land returned into public ownership through renationalisation of industries and utilities which were privatised or taken out of direct state control.
– Ring fencing surplus public land for building council homes to meet housing needs.
– End the biases towards private developers in the planning system; including by amending the appeals process; and removing the threat that local authorities will have their planning powers removed for turning down applications where developers refuse to include sufficient social and genuinely affordable housing.
– Ballot tenants in regeneration schemes, ensuring secure long term tenancies and the land registry remains under public control.
– Regulate and Charge business rates for all dwellings used solely for very short terms lets i.e Air B&B.
– Rebalancing the government’s housing budget in favour of social housing by setting a significant national housing grant.
Mover: Chinese for Labour
Seconder: Horsham CLP