Greengates Builders Merchants

Labour To Double House­bu­ilding

Ed Miliband sought to burnish Labour’s credentials as the party of house­bu­ilding and construction this week with a pledge that, if elected to government, Labour would boost the number of homes built to 200,000 a year by the end of the next parliament in 2020.

However, Labour’s pledge to get Britain building “on a grand scale” was partly undermined by a warning from Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, that Labour could withdraw its support for the high-speed rail line to the north of England.

The housing anno­un­cement, which came in Miliband’s keynote speech to the Labour party conference in Brighton, did not include any commitment to additional capital spending, other than the £10bn in spending the party has already said should be brought forward to fund the construction of 400,000 homes.

Speaking on the conference fringe, shadow housing minister Jack Dromey said councils, working in close partnership with housing associations and house­bu­ilders, would be the “key engine of delivery” in Labour’s proposed house­bu­ilding drive.

He said there was no “silver bullet” to tackle what he described as an acute housing crisis, but said bringing SME builders back into the market and expanding self-build and the private rented sector were all part of the solution.

He also backed further insti­tutional investment in house­bu­ilding including the use of council pension schemes, plus the creation of new towns and Garden Cities – a policy developed by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg that is currently stalled in Whitehall.

Dromey added that Labour would not “tear up” the government’s planning reforms, promising “continuity” for the house­bu­ilding industry, but said alterations would be considered.

Labour said they want to double house­bu­ilding.

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