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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

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TfL releases land for 10,000 homes across the Capital

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


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