Build a Better Britain

Thank you for contacting me recently regarding the ‘Build a Better Britain’ campaign.

I agree that we need to do much more to ensure that our community and communities across the country have the good quality, affordable homes they need. To achieve this, the next Labour Government will need to focus much more closely on solving the current housing crisis and ensuring that local communities have the powers to build the homes local people need and in the places they decide.

The current Government, however, has presided over the lowest peacetime level of housebuilding since the 1920s and the gap between the number of houses being built and the number of houses we need is unprecedented – at over 100,000 each year. Under this Government rents have soared, many first time buyers have been priced out of the market and the number of new affordable homes has collapsed. Homelessness and rough sleeping have both risen sharply.

A Labour Government will address this by bringing forward a range of measures to see at least 200,000 homes built per year by 2020 and by prioritising capital investment to build more affordable homes, and homes for first time buyers. We will also give private renters a fairer deal with more stable three-year tenancies, a ceiling on excessive rent rises and a ban on rip-off letting fees.

Labour recognises that building homes is, of course, not just about bricks and mortar, but requires the creation of communities in which good design should be paramount. I believe new homes need to enhance and support the natural environment and that local communities should have a greater say in future planning decisions. A Labour Government will give councils greater powers to build local homes and will also update the National Planning Policy Framework to include a clear ‘brownfield first’ policy – a policy that Labour introduced previously and was abandoned by this Government. We will also prioritise preventative spending on flood defences that can support communities at risk and save money in the long term.

The RIBA campaign rightly highlights that housing and building sustainable communities are vital issues in this Election. That is why I believe it is so important we have a Labour Government that can address this.

Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.