Labour to announce plans for 200,000 homes a year by 2020

A house being built Labour wants a fresh wave of new towns

Labour is seeking to tackle what it calls the UK's housing crisis by building 200,000 homes a year by 2020.

Leader Ed Miliband will say building levels have fallen to their lowest level for almost 100 years.

He is set to announce plans to free-up councils from planning regulations, penalise developers who hoard land and deliver another wave of new towns.

Labour says the housing shortage is "central" to what they call Britain's "cost of living crisis".

Former chairman of the BBC trust, Sir Michael Lyons, will lead a housing review for the party.

His "rebuilding Britain" commission will work with councils to identify sites for potential development.

Mr Miliband claims it now takes an average family 22 years to save for a deposit on a home - compared with three years in 1997 when Labour last took power.

The ideas mooted include:

  • Giving local authorities a "right to grow" beyond their boundaries, overriding neighbouring towns and boroughs
  • Boosting the power of councils to purchase land from developers, telling them to "use it or lose it"
  • Measures to encourage another generation of new towns and garden cities

Previous waves of new town developments saw the rise of the likes of Stevenage, Runcorn and Milton Keynes.

Under Labour's plans, ministers could fast-track a fourth round of new developments. Local authorities could be given financial incentives to back the plans.

Mr Miliband will outline the proposals during his keynote address at the party's annual conference in Brighton.

It comes on the back of a raft of new policies along the same theme.

The Labour leader will also announce a tax break for small businesses. And yesterday shadow chancellor Ed Balls outlined plans to increase free childcare.

Mr Miliband will invite voters to ask themselves in 2015 whether they feel better-off now than they did before the coalition was formed.

"You've made the sacrifices, but you've not got the rewards," he will say.

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