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Thu, 18 July 2024

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By Ben Guerin
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Rachel Reeves Brings Back Compulsory Housebuilding Targets To Boost UK Growth

3 min read

Rachel Reeves has said the Labour government will bring back housebuilding targets as part of its plan to change Britain's planning rules and grow the size of the economy.

In her first speech as Chancellor on Monday, Reeves said the Government was prepared to make "tough" choices on growth to increase living standards across the UK. She claimed Labour was willing to take the brunt of short-term "political pain" on issues such as housebuilding to "fix Britain's foundations". 

The Chancellor said a set of new planning rules would help businesses build key infrastructure. It would also aid Labour's ambition to reach its target of constructing 1.5 million homes in its first term in office. 

“Last week, the British people voted for change,” she said. “And over the past 72 hours, I have begun the work necessary to deliver on that mandate," Reeves added. 

She went on: “Our manifesto was clear: sustained economic growth is the only route to improving the prosperity of our country and the living standards of working people.

“Where previous governments have been unwilling to take the difficult decisions to deliver growth – or have waited too long to act – I will not hesitate.

"It is now a national mission. There is no time to waste."

The previous Conservative government promised to liberalise Britain's planning rules after it promised to do so in its 2019 manifesto. It also pledged to build 300,000 homes every year. But former housing secretary Michael Gove dropped the proposals to implement targets after a rebellion of more than 50 Tory MPs. 

Reeves said Labour will not "shrink" from tough choices on growing the economy including getting more people on the housing ladder. 

"All governments face difficult decisions. We will not shrink from those choices. are made harder. However, by the absence of the economic growth, necessary not only to balance the books, but also to improve living standards."

The Chancellor said the economy was £140 billion bigger than it would have been if the UK had grown at the average rate of an OECD economy. 

"Growth requires hard choices. Choices that previous governments have shied away from. And it now falls to this new labor government to fix the foundations. There is no time to waste."

Reeves said that despite Labour's majority of 172 - the largest since Tony Blair's landslide in 1997 - she would be sticking with Labour's manifesto promises. 

"I know that there are some who will argue that the time for caution is passed, who hold that the platform on which we were elected, the platform that the British people voted for last week can now be swiftly forgotten.

"That we can toss aside those fiscal rules or renege on our tax pledges, that a large majority in parliament means we have the license to row back on the principles of sound money and economic responsibility," she said.

Reeves said she believed the manifesto Labour was elected on should be "delivered on". 

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