Jeremy Corbyn vows to tear up affordable housing rulebook and slams 'wealthy speculators'

Posted On: 
18th April 2018

Jeremy Corbyn will promise a radical overhaul of the rules on affordable homes, as he pledges to fix Britain's "broken" housing market.

Credit: 
PA - Labour said the housing market had become "a site of speculation for a wealthy few"

The Labour leader will on Thursday launch the party's affordable housing review with a pledge to build one million "genuinely affordable" homes over the next ten years and dramatically change the definition of affordable housing under a Labour Government.

Under current rules, properties are classified as having affordable rents if tenants pay no more than 80 percent of the local market rate.

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But, in a speech in London alongside Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey, Mr Corbyn will warn that housing has now become "a site of speculation for a wealthy few", and will instead vow to tie affordable rent to people's incomes.

"Luxury flats proliferate across our big cities, while social housing is starved of investment and too many people are living in dangerous accommodation at the mercy of rogue landlords," the Labour leader will say.

"We need to restore the principle that a decent home is a right owed to all, not a privilege for the few. And the only way to deliver on that right for everyone, regardless of income, is through social housing."

Labour says it will shake-up the market by introducing new "living rent homes", with rents set at "no more than a third of average local household incomes". The party claims the move could cut £130 from the monthly rent bill for a private flat in Manchester.

Mr Corbyn will also vow to set up what Labour is calling a "fully-fledged" Department for Housing, and grant councils greater freedom to borrow in order to tackle social housing waiting lists.

The party argues that the new powers will, over ten years, allow local authorities to clear the current backlog of people waiting for social housing - which government figures show currently stands at more than 1.1m.

The Labour housing team is also planning to compel councils with a "duty to deliver" affordable housing and make it easier for tenants to take local authorities to court if their homes are thought to be unsafe.

"IMBALANCE OF POWER"

Meanwhile MPs on the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee have today called for greater legal protections for vulnerable tenants to address the "imbalance of power" they face when dealing with landlords.

Committee chair Clive Betts said: "Local authorities need the power to levy more substantial fines against landlords and in the case of the most serious offenders, ultimately be able to confiscate their properties.

"Such powers are however meaningless if they are not enforced and at the same time councils need more resources to carry out effective prosecutions."

Labour's pledges come after a damning report by the left-leaning Resolution Foundation think tank warned that, without action, 40% of Britain’s millennial generation – those born between 1980 and 1996 – will still be renting into their 40s.

In a major speech last month, Theresa May said young people were "right to be angry" about the housing market, warning that the current situation was "exacerbating divisions between generations".

The Prime Minister vowed to overhaul the UK's existing planning policy framework, and pledged to ensure that 10% of homes on major building sites would be reserved for affordable housing.