Labour announce plans to boost number of homes including fast track planning and help for small firms

Shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds will outline Labour’s plans to build more homes and help the next generation on to the property ladder during a pre-election debate at the Houses of Parliament.

Speaking at the Federation of Master Builders event, she will accuse the Government of letting families down by failing to build the homes our country needs.

Reynolds will unveil a package of measures to boost housebuilding and to support SME builders including a help to build scheme which will allow SMEs to access lower-cost bank lending supported by Treasury guarantees; a requirement for local authorities to include a higher proportion of small sites in their five-year land supply; the introduction of fast-track planning on small sites of less than ten homes.

Reynolds is expected to say: “We are not even building half the number of homes that we need to keep up with demand. A record number of young people in their twenties and thirties are living at home with their parents. Many young people and families are priced out of home ownership and some of these families are living in overcrowded conditions.

“Every day we are building 356 fewer homes than we need because the Tories have presided over the lowest levels of housebuilding in peacetime since the 1920s.

“We need a more diverse and competitive housing market to build the homes we need but in recent years small builders have fallen into decline.

“Labour will boost small builders, increase house building and help make home ownership a realistic aspiration for the next generation. Labour is committed to building many more homes which is why we will get 200,000 homes built a year by 2020, creating up to 230,000 jobs.”

​The Chartered Institute of Housing has previously called for a help to build scheme and said that while Labour’s measures will help much more needs to be done to solve the housing crisis.

Its chief executive Grainia Long said: “Historically small and medium sized builders have played a vital role in building new homes, but following the credit crunch they’ve found it more difficult to access finance. That’s why we have been calling for a ‘help to build’ scheme for SME builders, to help boost the part they can play in tackling the housing crisis.

“Requiring councils to identify more small sites for housing and fast-tracking the development of smaller sites will also help, but we cannot underestimate the scale of our housing crisis. What we need is a game-changer, like the government taking a much more active role in building new homes.

“We’ve failed to build enough homes to keep up with demand for decades, and as a result millions of people all over the UK are struggling to afford a decent home – to buy or to rent. Measures like this must be part of an ambitious long-term plan to solve the housing crisis within a generation, so our children and grandchildren don’t face a future where they have no hope of securing a home they can afford.”

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