Ed Miliband will today (Thurs) herald sweeping reforms to help communities build hundreds of thousands of new homes where families want to live – and ensure that first time buyers from the area are given priority access rights when these houses go on sale.
Unveiling the Lyons Report on a visit to Milton Keynes, he will declare that this comprehensive housing plan – the first of its kind in a generation – will meet Labour's commitment of building 200,000 homes a year by 2020 and set a course for doubling the number of first-time buyers over the next decade.
The report highlights a land market that is not working: insufficient land coming forward; a decline in house building capacity; and communities feeling that they have no influence where new homes will go.
He will endorse the comprehensive plan set out by the review and highlight three key policies designed to unlock the supply of new homes and guarantee that communities get proper benefit from development in their area.
These, says Labour, will ensure:
• Local communities have the power to build the homes needed in the places people want to live
• Councils produce a plan for homebuilding in their area and allocate sufficient land for development to meet the needs of people in the area
• First time buyers from the area can get priority access rights when these new homes go on sale.
Mr Miliband will say:
"There has been a systematic failure to build the homes our country needs. Too much development land is held as a speculative investment when local people need homes. Too often the trickle of new developments that get completed are snapped up before people from the area can benefit, undermining support for much needed further development. And, for too many young families, the dream of home ownership is fading fast.
"Only Labour has a plan to build the homes that our country, our local communities and our families need. As Ed Balls has said, the next Labour government will make housing a bigger priority within the existing capital settlement for the next Parliament. We will get Britain building again by insisting local authorities have a plan to meet the need for housing in their area – and that the big developers play their part rather than hold land back.
"But we will also make sure that communities get the benefit from new home development by guaranteeing that where communities take the lead in bringing forward additional developments, a significant proportion of homes on those sites cannot be bought by anyone before first-time buyers from the area have been given the chance. This is not only a fairer system, it is also one which will encourage local communities and local authorities to support the development that our country so desperately needs."
Sir Michael Lyons said:
"We face the biggest housing crisis in a generation. We simply have to do better as a nation, not only because our children and grandchildren need the homes we should be providing now, but because greater house building will make a direct contribution to national economic growth.
"My report sets out a comprehensive plan to tackle the key problems that underpin our failure to build enough homes. This will require strong leadership from central government alongside the delegation of powers and responsibility so that every community provides the homes they need. The recommendations will make more land available for new homes; unlock investment in infrastructure; and ensure that new homes are built when and where they are needed in attractive, thriving places. That will involve a more active role for local government in assembling land and in risk sharing partnerships with developers, landowners.
"We will need the industry to do more, get smaller house builders back into business, tap potential in the construction industry, attract new enterprise and unlock potential for Housing Associations to do more. This will reverse the shrinking capacity in a key UK industry and create 230,000 new jobs whilst adding 1.2% to GDP."
Hilary Benn, Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said:
"Everyone knows that we have a housing crisis, and unless we do something about it we will be betraying our children. But communities don't feel that the current system works for them. Too often, developers seem to be in control rather than local people.
"So we are making you an offer: you take on responsibility for providing homes for the next generation and in return we will help you ensure that the right kind of homes get built in the places you want."
Emma Reynolds, Labour's Shadow Housing Minister, said:
"The levels of house building have dropped under this government to the lowest in peacetime since the 1920s – and the Tories only offer gimmicks as a response.
"The Lyons report is the first serious plan in a generation for building homes at the scale and speed our nation needs: a comprehensive roadmap to tackle the deep and underlying causes of a housing crisis which threatens the prosperity of our country and the future of our young people."