labour aims to get Britain building again but is it that simple?
Britain is currently in a serious housing crisis which has only been amplified by a shortage of affordable housing, the rising cost of living, and the British government’s inability to assist UK housebuilders.
At the beginning of October, Sir Keir Starmer promised to tackle the housing crisis by building one and a half million homes across the country within five years of a Labour government, calling it a “decade of renewal under Labour”. Speaking on the first day of the Labour Party Conference, Starmer made bold claims to assist “the next generation” by building between 250,000 and 300,000 homes a year. Setting out his housing plan, he said that he would “bulldoze through” planning laws if the Labour Party wins the next general election… but, will it be that simple?
Talking more on the issue Starmer said “We have to get real about where we’re going to build, and we have to work with developers to get that at speed. This can be done but it will never be done by a government that simply takes down targets because the Prime Minister is too weak to stand up to his own party.”
There has been no retaliation to Labour’s ambitions so far, with Conservative Party leader PM Rishi Sunak at a recent Tory Conference making no mention of housing in his keynote speech. The absence of any housing policy news is blunt considering the Conservative Party’s 2019 pledge to build 300,000 new homes a year – especially when you factor in that between 2019 and 2020 only 242,700 new homes were built and between 2020 and 2021 there were only 216,490 new homes built.
Add to all of this the first King’s Speech, which was used to set out the government’s priorities for the next year and in which the King only addressed two bills on housing – the leasehold reform and the renters (reform) bill. And it isn’t hard to paint a picture of a stark reality for the housebuilding industry.
But, has Whitehall woken up? As of Monday (13th November), the government announced the return of ex-PM David Cameron as Foreign Secretary and the sacking of Suella Braverman replaced by James Clervly as Home Secretary. Many will be wondering if this shake-up will finally see the dust blown away from stagnant housebuilding policies and the re-generation of the parties original housing pledge. Only time will tell, but, with a ‘backlog of 4.3 million homes’ in Britain the short and long answer is Britain needs to keep building.