Labour 2013: Miliband sets 200,000 home a year goal

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has committed a Labour government to building 200,000 homes a year by 2020.

Ed Miliband: 'We don't just have a housing crisis, we have a cost of living crisis too'
Ed Miliband: 'We don't just have a housing crisis, we have a cost of living crisis too'

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In his speech to the party’s conference in Brighton, Miliband warned that, by 2020, there will be "two million too few homes in Britain". "We’ve got to do something about it and the next Labour government will," he said.

Miliband said that a Labour government would have a "clear aim that by the end of the parliament Britain will be building 200,000 homes a year, more than at any time in a generation".

Speaking later at a fringe meeting organised by the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), the shadow housing minister Jack Dromey said that a Labour government would continue to "ramp up" the target once it had been achieved.

He said: "We’re going to be going from the lowest level of housebuilding last year since the 1920s … to effectively doubling housebuilding by 2020 and we will continue to ramp up after that. It’s a very ambitious target, but it’s a realistic target and we’ll deliver on it."

Dromey also used the TCPA fringe meeting to set out further details of the Labour leader’s pledges to hand local authorities a "right to grow" and to identify new towns and garden cities.

Dromey said: "One of the issues that we’re tackling is precisely this question about where there’s a failure of adjacent authorities to cooperate together in terms of the planning system and how it works."

Dromey cited examples in Stevenage, where there has been a long running disagreement between neighbouring councils about plans for 3,600 homes, and Oxfordshire, where neighbouring authorities have clashed over the proposed use of a green belt site.

"We are moving down the path of the notion of what we call ‘right to grow’," he said. "You can’t have a situation like that … where there’s simply a failure to cooperate on the part of adjacent local authorities."

Dromey said that new towns and garden cities could meet demand for housing in the South East.

He said: "If you are looking particularly at London and the South East, it is very difficult to see how you can meet the demand of a rapidly growing city … other than … potentially new town and garden city development.

"We will be focusing on that, together with local authorities in areas where there might be a degree of acceptance for that."

Grainia Long, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), said: "It is heartening to hear Ed Miliband put housing centre stage which is exactly where it needs to be if we are to stand any chance of tackling the housing crisis that continues to cause misery for millions of people across Great Britain.
 
"We need to build 250,000 new homes a year to house our growing population comfortably but we’re currently completing less than half of that number.  A target of 200,000 homes a year is a big step in the right direction.  We wait to see the amount of government support Labour would commit to this."

Kate Henderson, TCPA chief executive said: "The TCPA strongly welcomes Ed Miliband's recognition of our deepening housing supply crisis and worsening affordability with a Labour Party commitment to support new garden cities as part of the solution.

"A new generation of garden cities is long overdue. Many of the garden city ideals remain of critical relevance today, providing a foundation and an economy of scale for high quality, attractive and inclusive places, creating new jobs and truly sustainable lifestyles."

National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr said: "Ed Miliband’s commitment to boost the number of homes is greatly welcome. An ambitious, comprehensive house building strategy is what we have been calling for, and something that this country has desperately needed for decades to drag us out of our current housing crisis."

For all of Planning’s 2013 conferences coverage click here.

jamie.carpenter@haymarket.com


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