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Labour unveils home building scheme

Labour has unveiled a package of measures designed to help boost home construction by small building firms and give more young people the chance of getting on to the housing ladder.

The party's housing spokeswoman Emma Reynolds said Labour would introduce a Help to Build scheme to allow small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to access lower-cost bank lending backed by Treasury guarantees, as well as fast-track planning for small sites of fewer than 10 homes and a requirement for councils to include a higher proportion of smaller sites for housing in their five-year plans.

Ms Reynolds accused the coalition Government of letting families down by failing to provide the homes the country needs.

Since 2010, some 356 fewer homes have been built each day compared with the level of demand, she said.

As a result, she said overcrowding is affecting 652,000 households - the highest level for nearly two decades.

The proportion of homes built by SME builders has fallen from 34% to 27% since 2010, with a loss of an estimated 1,131 SME builders, she said.

Speaking to the Federation of Master Builders at a pre-election event in Westminster, Ms Reynolds was expected to say: "We are not even building half the number of homes that we need to keep up with demand. A record number of young people in their 20s and 30s are living at home with their parents. Many young people and families are priced out of home ownership and some of these families are living in overcrowded conditions.

"Every day we are building 356 fewer homes than we need because the Tories have presided over the lowest levels of house-building in peacetime since the 1920s.

"We need a more diverse and competitive housing market to build the homes we need but in recent years small builders have fallen into decline.

"Labour will boost small builders, increase house building and help make home ownership a realistic aspiration for the next generation. Labour is committed to building many more homes which is why we will get 200,000 homes built a year by 2020, creating up to 230,000 jobs."

Tory housing minister Brandon Lewis said: "This government has already introduced a Builders Finance Fund for small builders, with the first contracts on course to be signed soon.

"Labour don't mention that it's their official party policy to hike up taxes and building regulations on small builders, adding up to £30,0000 to the cost of building a new home.

"Labour just offer the same failed policies of higher taxes and more red tape."


From Belfast Telegraph