Tories and Labour go to war over housing with election pledges

21 November 2019, 06:00

Both parties have rolled out plans for housing
Both parties have rolled out plans for housing. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Labour is pledging a "housing revolution" promising the biggest council house building programme for decades with at least 150,000 new council and social homes a year within five years.

Labour's manifesto will be launched in Birmingham on Thursday and will see promises to "fix the country’s housing crisis" by investing money into a "social transformation fund."

At the launch, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will pledge half of Labour’s Social Transformation Fund - around £75bn over five years - will be allocated to housing.

One key pledge is to build at least 150,000 new council and social homes a year within five years, which Labour say will be the "biggest council housebuilding programme since the years immediately after the Second World War."

While the Tories also rolled out their housing plans, with a focus on building a million more homes and promising to reform the rental sector with an end to 'no-fault evictions' and changing the system of deposits.

Mr Corbyn said his government would build 150,000 new homes
Mr Corbyn said his government would build 150,000 new homes. Picture: PA

Jeremy Corbyn will also commit to fixing the housing crisis in England with the biggest overall programme to build affordable homes since the 1960s if Labour wins a majority in the December 12 election.

Charities and housing groups widely praised the proposal as a "game-changer", while the Tories defended their track record.

The Labour leader said: "Housing should be for the many, not a speculation opportunity for dodgy landlords and the wealthy few.

"I am determined to create a society where working-class communities and young people have access to affordable, good-quality council and social homes."

The homeless charity, Shelter said the Labour plan would be "transformational" for the housing emergency in the UK.

Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said the last Labour government "decimated social housing numbers" before suggesting a Corbyn led government would be too busy focusing on a second Brexit referendum and a referendum on Scotland's independence to focus on delivering its housing plans.

The Cabinet Minister said: “Under the Conservatives, we’ve delivered 450,000 new affordable homes, increased housing supply to its highest level for almost 30 years and increased housebuilding by 93% in the last six years.

“After the last Labour government decimated social housing numbers we know there is more to do. This is why we’ve committed £9 billion to deliver a further quarter of a million more affordable new homes whilst continuing to build more homes - helping thousands more onto the property ladder.

“Corbyn’s Labour would be too distracted by the chaos of another two referendums to meet their promises. Only a vote for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives will allow us to get on with implementing our ambitious domestic agenda and building the homes families across the country want.”

Boris Johnson's plans were also launched
Boris Johnson's plans were also launched. Picture: PA

The Tory party has also announced its plans for houses, with the Conservatives pledging to build "at least another million homes in the next five years," as well as plans to help renters to buy, and to provide discounts for local first-time buyers.

The party has also said under a Tory majority government there would be a ban on so-called “no-fault evictions."

Conservative leader Boris Johnson said his party was one of "homeownership" and the Tories would "empower" renters as well as changing rules around evictions.

Mr Johnson said: “The Conservatives have always been the party of homeownership, but under a Conservative majority government in 2020 we can and will do even more to ensure everyone can get on and realise their dream of owning their home. At the moment renting a property can also be an uncertain and unsettling business, and the costs of deposits make it harder to move. We are going to fix that.

“A Conservative majority government will empower renters and give them greater peace of mind. We will end no-fault evictions, so that landlords can’t remove tenants without good reason, and introduce Lifetime Rental Deposits so renters don’t have to save up for a new deposit while their money is tied up in an old one.

“It’s because we will get Brexit done that we can focus on helping people get on the property ladder or move up it, whereas Labour’s plans for two chaotic referendums would hold this country back.”