We face the biggest housing crisis in a generation. Less than half the number of new homes Britain needs are being built under David Cameron. House building is at the lowest level of any government in peacetime since the 1920s and home ownership has declined to its lowest level in 30 years.
I’ve spoken to many young people in Lancaster and Fleetwood who have all but given up on their dream of ever owning a home they can afford and call their own. I know that, too often, the local community feels that it doesn’t have enough say over the types of homes that are built and where they should go. Labour has a plan to change this.
As part of Labour’s plan our local community will be given the power to charge developers where planning permission has been given but the homes are not being built and, in the most serious cases, a 'use it or lose it' power to compulsorily purchase the site and sell it on to someone who will build those homes.
A Labour Government will also give local councils the power to designate new ‘Housing Growth Areas’ which will give the local community the power to make sure that the new homes needed locally get built where people want them, rather than just where developers choose. This way the local community will be able to make sure that there are affordable homes and the essential infrastructure needed, like GP surgeries, green spaces, schools, and roads as part of the development too.
And to help people get onto the property ladder, Labour will give councils the power to reserve at least half of the homes built in the Housing Growth Areas for first-time buyers from the local area, giving them priority access for two months.
For too many people in Lancaster and Fleetwood the dream of home ownership is fading fast. The Tory-led government has washed its hands of this problem and refuses to act, but Labour is determined to tackle the housing crisis and make sure a decent and affordable home is within reach for young people and families.