Tuesday 30 June 2020 / 9:34 AM Thangam Debbonaire

Labour calls for prioritisation of high-quality, zero-carbon, truly affordable homes after Jenrick scandal

After Jenrick scandal, Labour calls on Government to prioritise high-quality, zero-carbon, truly affordable homes over needs of developers 

In the wake of the Westferry ‘Cash for Favours’ Scandal, Labour has today demanded the Government halt plans to give extended housebuilding and planning powers to under-fire Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.

Today’s demand follows reports that the Government is considering radical plans to hand powers for major housing developments to the embattled Housing Secretary and extending the use of permitted development for conversion of commercial units for residential use.

Labour has warned that the move would jeopardise the building of new affordable homes and amounts to a “land grab” on the planning system. Labour is also concerned that this could signal pulling back on the commitment to making sure existing homes are well-insulated and energy efficient, both of which make many homes even more unaffordable.

Correspondence between Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick and billionaire developer Richard Desmond show that the Secretary of State helped the developer remove affordable housing from a planned scheme and avoid up to £50 million in tax.

Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary Thangam Debbonaire has today called for a stronger focus on investing in high-quality, truly affordable housing which create good jobs and help meet our carbon emissions reductions target, within the planning system.


Thangam Debbonaire MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said:

“The Westferry scandal shows that for all their fancy language, the Tories are simply prioritising the demands of housing developers at the expense of people who need affordable homes.

“The arrogance of Robert “three-homes” Jenrick proposing a roll-out of ill-adapted rabbit hutches is staggering – permitted development has been shown to be a failure and this is just another example of the Tories doing favours for their property developer mates. Meanwhile, our climate change targets are urgent, and there are millions of existing homes which need insulation and energy efficiency.

“Instead of thinking about housing developers’ business interests, the government should be focusing on the millions of people who see home ownership as an impossible dream, or the many key workers who have been stuck for years on council housing waiting lists and invest in high-quality, truly affordable homes which are well insulated and energy efficient and help to meet our zero-carbon emissions targets.”