Skip to main content

Why Labour is Opposed to the Housing Bill ?

John Healy shadow housing secretary & Sadiq Khan Labour london Mayor Candidate 2016 

By John Healy

When the Commons debates the government’s new housing and planning bill tomorrow, people will start to see that the Tories’ housing plans are driven by the politics of the Conservative party, not by the housing needs of the country.

Ministers talk about building more houses and helping people become homeowners. But this hides the truth that their housing record is five years of failure on every front.

Home ownership has fallen every year since 2010 and is now at the lowest rate in a generation. The Conservatives have overseen the lowest number of homes built under any government since the 1920s and the lowest number of genuinely affordable homes for two decades. Homelessness is rising; private rents have soared.

John Healy MP Shadow Housing Minster : speaking on housing at recent Labour Party conference 

So in a political panic about falling so far short on their new-build numbers, the bill gives ministers wide-ranging powers to impose new house building and override both local community concerns and local plans. With a total of 32 new housing and planning powers for the centre, this legislation signals the end of localism.

Ministers’ rhetoric also hides the realities at the heart of this new housing bill. At prices up to £450,000, new “starter homes” don’t do nearly enough to help those struggling to buy and will be totally out of reach for most young people and families on ordinary incomes. Most damaging of all, the bill sounds the death knell for our ability to build the affordable homes to rent and buy that are so badly needed.

The forced sell-off of council homes to fund right-to-buy discounts for housing associations will mean affordable homes currently set aside for local people will be sold on to speculators and buy-to-let landlords, with no prospect or plan for replacement like for like in the areas they’re lost.

While housing associations may build more homes as they sell under right to buy, many will increasingly build for open market sale and rent. Indeed, a third of them now say they’ll no longer build any affordable homes.

And as ministers use new powers through the planning system to impose starter-home obligations on developers, the system that has provided nearly 250,000 genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy in the last decade will be choked off. All told, Shelter predicts the bill will lead to the loss of 180,000 affordable homes over the next five years.

Like the cut to tax credits, this bill is the chancellor’s work, with his political fingerprints all over it. And like tax credits, it faces a looming row in the Lords. Above all, it fails the same low- and middle-income working families that the Tories claim they represent.

The more people see of this bill, the less they’ll like it. It is set to become a slow-burn problem all the way through to 2020. Some moderate Tory council leaders and MPs already recognise it as bad policy but know the chancellor believes it to be good politics.

I’m determined to expose this bill as both bad policy and bad politics.

adding to this Saddiq Khan labour MP  & Lord Mayor candidate for London  2016 commented >

This Monday, MPs will be voting on the Tory Housing Bill, which will extend right-to-buy to housing associations and force councils to sell-off thousands of council homes in London on the open market.

When London MPs go to vote on Monday, they need to know you - and thousands of other Londoners - are against these plans.

The Tories want to extend the ‘right-to-buy’ scheme to housing associations. And they want to pay for this across the country by selling-off London council homes.

We know how this will end. Private rents up. House prices up. And the chance of renting an affordable home or buying a home of your own further out of reach for more and more Londoners.

One of the main reasons I’m running to be Labour Mayor of London is to tackle the housing crisis, and I’m starting now by voting against this Tory plan to sell-off affordable homes.

I hope Zac Goldsmith is going to join me. We all need to rise above party politics to oppose this bill, and do what’s right for Londoners.

Further Reading

Government launches National Infrastructure Commission to get Britain building

NHBC reports buoyant new home market despite Q3 marginal reduction

Draw up plans to build more homes in two years... or we'll do it for you: PM's threat to reluctant town halls

Taylor Wimpey CEO Peter Redfern will lead Labour Housing Redfern Review

Historic Housing and Planning Bill will transform generation rent into generation buy

TfL releases land for 10,000 homes across the Capital

Osborne says tougher buy-to-let regulation on its way 

Boris tells planners & developers to put culture first for city development

House Prices will continue to rise & construction of more not the answer

London real estate most overpriced property globally, warns UBS

House Prices ,Mortgage applications , interest rates house building update

Sadiq Khan Housing Crisis Update Fair rental prices

How low can you go ? speech by Andy Haldane BoE Chief Economist

London’s housing crisis > Blue and Red debates @ London Mayor Question Time

reaching more people with our property fraud advice Land Registry

Bank of England concerns over Property buy-to-let boom

Britain Inflation and housing: joined at the hip

The European Union, monetary and financial stability, and the Bank of England - speech by Mark Carney

Zac Goldsmith: housing crisis number one priority in London – what needs to be done

TfL could help fix London’s housing Crisis as well as our trains

A question from Matthew > PMQs Jeremy Corbyn MP vs The Prime Minister David Cameron

Labour conference: Sadiq Khan >"I'm going to make the election a referendum on London's housing crisis"

Newly Elected Labour Candidate, for Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, outlines his Housing Policies

What Jeremy Corbyn's leadership victory may mean for housing policy in the UK

Marie's Question >Jeremy Corbyn The New Labour Leader takes his seat in the Houses of Parliament

Building Markets for the Good of People > BoE Open Forum

Government ministers and housing association leaders have negotiated a deal to extend the right-to-buy policy

Historic Housing and Planning Bill will transform generation rent into generation buy

How low can you go ? speech by Andy Haldane BoE Chief Economist

Three Truths about Finance - Governor of BoE - Mark Carney

Mortgage Lenders and Administrators statistics Bank of England Sept 2015

Osborne says tougher buy-to-let regulation on its way

House Prices will continue to rise & construction of more not the answer

Right To Buy Homes Urgent Parliament questions with Brandon Lewis UK housing Minster

Borrowing figures in the mortgage market remain strong as customers take advantage of record low interest rates

property eCommerce is booming !

Residential sales Move up despite lack of property Stock

Government ministers and housing association leaders have negotiated a deal to extend the right-to-buy policy