Labour’s Bold Housing Plan Promises Major Reforms

Sir Keir Starmer has just unveiled the long-anticipated Labour manifesto, detailing key policies for a future government aimed at transforming the housing sector.

Ambitious Housing Goals and Tax Reforms
Labour’s manifesto includes a pledge to raise £8.6bn by targeting overseas property investors, private schools, and non-doms. A central focus is on housing, with plans to develop 1.5 million homes, marking “the biggest increase in social and affordable housebuilding in a generation” through the use of “poor quality” green belt land.

The party aims to achieve a home ownership target of 70% by introducing a new mortgage guarantee scheme, allowing buyers to purchase new builds with a 5% deposit. The manifesto also promises to advance the Renters (Reform) Bill, ending Section 21 evictions.

Enhancing Building Safety and Leaseholder Protections
Labour commits to “decisive action” to improve building safety with new regulations. The party also plans to review protections for leaseholders who face exorbitant service charges and ground rent. Addressing these unregulated and “unaffordable” costs is a priority.

“Planning decisions should be rooted in granular data to identify hotspots of consumer demand and potential bottlenecks to development,” commented Simon Brown, CEO of Landmark Information Group.

Focus on Sustainability and Energy Efficiency
The manifesto highlights plans to double investment in upgrading the energy efficiency of homes and introduce higher efficiency standards for rental properties. “The UK’s built environment is responsible for around 40% of UK carbon emissions, so it is encouraging to see steps being taken by Labour to address this,” noted Brown. Labour emphasises that achieving green targets can save money, rather than increasing costs.

Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, welcomed the commitment to a brownfield-first approach and the construction of 1.5 million homes. However, he called for more details on how these goals will be achieved.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, supported the end of Section 21 evictions but stressed the need for a fair replacement system. “Landlords need robust grounds for possessions in legitimate circumstances, and they need the system to operate quickly when they do,” he said.

Labour’s comprehensive housing strategy seeks to address long-standing issues in the housing market, aiming to create a fairer, more sustainable system for buyers and renters alike. The party’s proposals, if implemented, could reshape the UK housing landscape, ensuring better protection for leaseholders and improving energy efficiency in homes across the country.