‘How’, not ‘if’: Labour will jump start planning to build 1.5 million homes and save the dream of homeownership

Labour Leader Keir Starmer today pledged to get Britain building again and save the dream of homeownership for younger people when he announced a transformational package of reforms to the planning system to build 1.5 million homes over the next Parliament.

The plan includes:

  • A housing recovery plan; a blitz of planning reform to quickly boost housebuilding to buy and rent and deliver the biggest boost to affordable housing in a generation, enhancing local voice on ‘how’ housing is built with communities confident plans will be delivered
  • The next generation of ‘new towns’; new communities with beautiful homes, green spaces, reliable transport links and bustling high streets
  • Unleashing Mayors; a package of devolution to Mayors, with stronger powers over planning and control over housing investment
  • Planning passport’ for urban brownfield development; with a fast track approval and delivery of high-density housing on urban brownfield sites
  • First dibs for first time buyers; supporting younger people the first chance at homes in new housing developments with a government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme.

The Conservative government has allowed planning permissions to collapse to a record low because they are too weak to stand up to their backbenchers, members, and cronies whose interests are best served by limiting the supply of housing to buy and rent.

Planning permissions have dropped to their lowest on record, and by the time of the next general election, new home completions are forecast to have dropped to as little as 160,000 per year.

Meanwhile, two thirds of local planning authorities do not have an up-to-date local plan, with this number set to fall even lower as councils pause plans due to the chaos.

Without urgent action, we face a generation locked out of homeownership. Since 2010, there are already half a million fewer young homeowners. Meanwhile, millions are stuck in expensive, poor quality and insecure rented housing.

Labour today announced an immediate blitz of planning reform delivered in their first days and weeks in office to rescue the housing system from the chaos of the Tories.

Labour’s plans will enhance local communities power and voice over ‘how’ housing is built to best service local people, while challenging those who question ‘if’ homes the homes people need should be built at all. 

A Labour Government would work with local authorities to quickly draw up and agree local plans that have stalled, recruiting hundreds of extra planners in a ‘sprint’ to agree new plans, as announced by the Shadow Chancellor.  

Labour will also strengthen requirements to approve new homes in areas that do not have an up-to-date plan and will intervene to approve new homes in poorly performing areas, including using call-in powers in the most extreme cases.

Labour will also deliver the biggest boost to affordable house building in a generation, with as announced by the Deputy Leader Angela Rayner reforms to Section 106 agreements and added flexibility in the Affordable Homes Programme.