Labour pledges to force developers to build 'at least' 50,000 discounted homes

The shadow housing secretary has said that a Labour government would compel developers to shoulder the costs of building "at least" 50,000 cut price homes for would-be owners on low incomes in its first five years in office.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey
Shadow housing secretary John Healey

In its general election manifesto, published last week, Labour said it would build new discount homes with prices linked to local incomes as part of wider plans to reserve more low-cost homes for first-time buyers.

According to national press reports yesterday, the homes would be sold at a discount of up to 50 per cent to the local market rate, with the size of the reduction dependent on the gap between earnings and house prices in the local area.

Local authorities could choose to target homes at key workers such as nurses or teachers.

Planning has asked the Labour Party to confirm the reports and provide further detail on the policy but it had yet to respond by time of publication.

On Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday morning, shadow housing secretary John Healey said: "This not about extra government spending, it’s about using the planning system to require developers to build discount homes that will be available for ordinary people on average incomes."

He said that over the lifetime of the first Parliament of a Labour government there would be "at least 50,000" such homes, which would particularly help young public service workers on "ordinary incomes".

Healey also told Today that the subsidy would be passed on with the property when it was sold rather than being captured entirely by the home’s first buyer.

The discount would be "baked in" to the price of the home so that it helps first-time buyers both now and in the future, he said.

In their manifesto, published on Sunday, the Conservatives said they would give councils powers to use developer contributions to discount new homes for "local people" by a third.

The manifesto said: "We will offer more homes to local families, enabling councils to use developers’ contributions via the planning process to discount homes in perpetuity by a third for local people who cannot otherwise afford to buy in their area. Councils could use this to prioritise key workers in their area, like police, nurses and teachers."

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