Written by Andrew Clark

Image credit: Peter Byrne/PA

Today, Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer and Shadow Minister for DLUHC Angela Rayner visited Brent Cross Town, in the marginal seat of Finchley and Golders Green, to announce the next stage of their housing plans.

Ahead of next Thursday’s expected manifesto launch, Labour took the opportunity to reaffirm its commitment and articulate some new proposals.

  1. Labour announced the extension of the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, due to end in 2025, making the support for first time buyers a permanent measure. Dubbed “Freedom to Buy” the scheme will continue to target younger prospective homes owners who find it difficult to secure appropriate lending to buy a home.
  2. The party reiterated its pledge to overhaul the planning system and reintroduce housing targets to support its bold pledge of delivering 1.5m new homes in five years
  3. Labour reaffirmed its pledge to fund a new wave of planning officers by levying a tax on foreign buyers in the UK, via a stamp duty surcharge.
  4. Matthew Pennycook, Shadow Housing Minister, repeated the pledge to provide new CPO powers for local authorities to address land speculation, land banking and ransom strips from curtailing development coming forward.
  5. Pennycook also reiterated Labour’s intention to establish development corporations in key areas across the UK.

Building beautiful

Angela Rayner released a series of images, provided by Create Streets, to show impressions of the style of homes that could be delivered under Labour.

Images credits: Create Streets

These would be designed to ensure an end to “identikit” homes and instead provide “attractive homes” in Labour’s building blitz.

The potential involvement of the Governments design Tsar Nicholas Boys Smith is an interesting development. A major advocate of sustainability and re-use Mr Smith was seen as a hugely influential voice in the decision to refuse the application for Marks and Spencer on Oxford Street.

Labour has referenced “high quality” and “sustainable” homes regularly in its pledge, but this is the first time any visuals of what they consider to be high quality have been shared. It will be interesting to see if these images represent a genuine aspiration or are never seen again.

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