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Nick Palmer welcomes the Lyons Report

Nick palmerPlans to roll out sweeping reforms to support first-time home buyers have been welcomed by Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Broxtowe, Nick Palmer.

Unveiling the Lyons Report, Ed Miliband declared this comprehensive housing plan – the first of its kind in a generation - will help meet Labour’s commitment of building 200,000 homes a year by 2020, doubling the number of people getting on the property ladder over the next decade.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Miliband announced Labour has accepted three key recommendations from the report designed to unlock the supply of new homes and guarantee that communities get proper benefit from development in their area by ensuring:

  • Local communities have the power to build the homes needed in the places people want to live
  • Local councils produce a plan for homebuilding in their area and allocate sufficient land for development to meet the needs of people in the area
  • Local first time buyers from the area can get priority access rights when these new homes go on sale.

Mr Miliband’s plan comes in the wake of findings that the average rent in the East Midlands amounts to £563 per month, leading 23% of 20-34 year olds to carry on living with their parents. Without serious action to alleviate the housing crisis, it is forecast that 36% of young adults will still be living at home by 2040.

Reacting to Mr Miliband’s acceptance of the Lyon’s report’s findings, Nick Palmer said: “I am delighted that Ed Miliband is committed to dealing with the housing crisis.

“Under David Cameron, the number of new homes being built is just half of that which is needed. The Government has presided over the lowest levels of house-building in peacetime since the 1920s.

“Young people in Broxtowe need action from government to get on the housing ladder. Labour’s housing policy is just the shot in the arm the housing market needs.”

Speaking at the launch of the report, Mr Miliband said: ”There has been a systematic failure to build the homes our country needs. Too much development land is held as a speculative investment when local people need homes. Too often the trickle of new developments that get completed are snapped up before people from the area can benefit, undermining support for much needed further development. And, for too many young families, the dream of home ownership is fading fast.

“Only Labour has a plan to build the homes that our country, our local communities and our families need. As Ed Balls has said, the next Labour government will make housing a bigger priority within the existing capital settlement for the next Parliament. We will get Britain building again by insisting local authorities have a plan to meet the need for housing in their area – and that the big developers play their part rather than hold land back. 

“But we will also make sure that communities get the benefit from new home development by guaranteeing that where communities take the lead in bringing forward additional developments, a significant proportion of homes on those sites cannot be bought by anyone before first-time buyers from the area have been given the chance. This is not only a fairer system, it is also one which will encourage local communities and local authorities to support the development that our country so desperately needs.”

Policy detail:

Labour is committed to increasing the number of homes built to at least 200,000 a year by 2020 and has set a national goal to double the number of first time buyers by 2025.

To meet this goal, Labour is announcing three key policies to ensure:

1. Local communities have the power to build the homes needed in the places people want to live.

Local authorities will be able to designate new ‘Housing Growth Areas’ which will have powers to assemble land and give certainty that building will take place. They will also ensure on larger developments the planning gain that results will in part be used to invest in the schools, roads, green spaces and GP surgeries that make developments possible.

2. Councils produce a plan for homebuilding in their area and allocate sufficient land for development to meet the needs of people in the area

Labour will make it mandatory for local authorities to have a Local Plan to meet the housing needs of the local community. Where they do not allocate sufficient land or come forward with a plan the planning inspectorate will have powers to step-in and make sure housing need is not ignored.

3. First time buyers from the area can get priority access rights when these new homes go on sale.

Labour will give the power to local authorities to reserve a proportion of homes built in ‘Housing Growth Areas’, for example 50%, for first-time buyers from the area who will have priority access for a period of two months.  In addition, local authorities will be able to restrict the sale of homes in these areas so they cannot be sold for buy-to-let or buy-to-leave empty properties.

Labour is also accepting other proposals in the report to underpin the roadmap for 200,000 homes built a year by 2020.

These include:

  • Powers for groups of local authorities to collaborate and form Olympic-style New Homes Corporations to build out designated land at pace.
  • Measures to drive competition in the house building industry, increase capacity, and expanding the number of small firms.
  • A Help to Build scheme to underwrite loans to small builders to get them building again and fast-track planning on small sites.
  • Financial incentives to local authorities so that they deliver a programme of new Garden Cities and Garden Suburbs to help unlock 500,000 homes.

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