Matt Rodda for Reading East

Standing up for Reading

Housing

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This is Labour’s better plan for a better future. The Tories have no answer to tackling the housing crisis or helping the next generation on to the property ladder.

The test of which party has a better plan for tackling the housing crisis and restoring the dream of home ownership is who will build more homes. David Cameron doesn’t understand that, which is why he has presided over the lowest peacetime level of housebuilding since the 1920s and home ownership has fallen to a 30 year low. As a result. a record number of young people are living with their parents into their twenties and thirties and eleven million people are now part of ‘Generation Rent’, with little security and the risk of being forced to move at short notice.

Five more years of the Tories would be disastrous for the growing number of people locked out of the housing market. By 2020, millions of families will be renting from a landlord and unable to buy a home of their own and the average cost of a home will have soared to over £363,000 – 14 times the average wage.

Britain can do better than this. Labour believes Britain succeeds when working people succeed. We will make home ownership a reality for thousands of working people again. Labour has a better plan for home ownership - helping people get on the property ladder, ensuring more houses get built and tackling sky-high rents.

Labour has a comprehensive plan – the first in a generation – to get 200,000 new homes built a year by 2020. And we will ensure that local people who have lived in an area for three years will be guaranteed priority access to new homes in Housing Growth Areas as part of a First Time Buyers First policy. This will be backed by a new manifesto commitment, unveiled by Ed Miliband today, of a new £5 billion Future Homes Fund to build 125,000 homes over the course of the next parliament for first time buyers.

The Government announced an ISA for first time buyers in the recent budget. Labour supports help for first time buyers to get on the housing ladder, but this must be done in a way that builds more homes rather than simply stoking demand. This scheme will cost the taxpayer £2.2bn so Labour plans to put the money saved through these ISAs to work by using it to invest in new homes prioritised for first time buyers. Any bank or building society which chooses to offer these ISAs will need to reinvest the savings into housing. Savers will be able to withdraw their money at any time but there will be a double benefit for saving in these ISAs, a financial bonus for saving and the money will be used to fund homes for their generation.

Labour’s better plan, set out in the Lyons Housing Review, will also instigate a major programme of reform of our housing market. We will unblock the supply of new homes by giving local authorities ‘use it or lose it’ powers over developers who refuse to build on land that has planning permission. We will drive more competition and back small builders through our new Help to Build scheme which will unlock more investment finance through the banks. We will build more affordable homes by prioritising capital investment in housing. We will build the next generation of Garden Cities. And we will get a fairer deal for private renters by making longer-term tenancies with a ceiling on rent rises over the course of those contracts, and banning rip-off letting fees charged to tenants.

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