The Labour Party will build 150,000 new council and social homes a year if they win power at the upcoming general election.
The pledge was made as part of their manifesto which was published this morning (November 21). It promises a ‘housing revolution’ which will deliver what they call the biggest council housebuilding programme since the 1950s.
Government figures show that last year the number of government-funded affordable homes for social rent built fell by 90%, to fewer than 1,000, while government figures suggest fewer than 3,000 council homes were built.
As part of the new programme, Labour will scrap the Conservatives’ definition of ‘affordable’ housing replacing it with a new Labour definition linked to local incomes, including social rent, which works out at around half the level of market rents, alongside new living rent and homes for low-cost ownership.
The new plans will be paid for with funding from Labour’s Social Transformation Fund. Half of Labour’s Social Transformation Fund – around £75bn over five years – will be allocated to housing.
The part says the homes will be built to ‘cutting edge design and green standards’ citing the new, award-winning Goldsmith Street council development in Norwich as an example of what Labour’s modern council housing could look like.
The estate is comprised of almost 100 ultra-low-energy homes and arranged in seven terrace blocks, modelled on the Victorian streets of the nearby ‘Golden Triangle’ district.
The back gardens of the central terraces share a secure ‘alleyway for children to play together, and a wide landscaped walkway for communal gatherings runs perpendicularly through the middle of the estate.
Goldsmith Street also has a passive solar scheme, designed to minimise fuel bills for residents.
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, said: ‘Housing should be for the many, not a speculation opportunity for dodgy landlords and the wealthy few.
‘I am determined to create a society where working-class communities and young people have access to affordable, good quality council and social homes.
‘Everyone knows someone affected by the housing crisis. Labour is offering real change to fix it.’
Shelter chief executive Polly Neate called the plans ‘transformational’ for housing in the UK.
‘A pledge to build social homes at this scale would, if implemented, do more than any other single measure to end the housing emergency and give new, affordable, sa fe homes to hundreds of thousands currently without one,’ she added.
The Conservative Party are yet to launch their manifesto. The Liberal Democrats say they will build 100,000 new homes for social rent every year if they gain power following the December 12 polls.