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Labour's manifesto: safe, decent homes available for all

Dear friend,

Yesterday Labour launched our manifesto, and at its heart was a bold new plan to fix the housing crisis.

Everyone knows someone affected by the housing crisis in Croydon: younger people struggling to buy a first home, renters trapped in damp flats, families stuck on a council waiting list, leasehold home-owners hit by unfair fees, people who are homeless living and dying on our streets. Housing is at the heart of the injustice in our country

It doesn’t have to be this way. Things must - and can - change. As Shadow Housing Minister, I've been helping develop Labour's plan to fix the housing crisis and overcome the failures of the last 10 years and the shortcomings of the last 50 years.

Labour’s manifesto, launched yesterday, includes new plans for the biggest council and social housing programme in decades, to transform the lives of millions of people struggling to afford a decent home because of the housing crisis. Our manifesto also pledges to 'introduce a levy on overseas companies buying housing, while giving local people 'first-dibs' on new homes built in their area.'

I have been closely involved in developing the suite of housing policies which include radical new rights for private renters, a new taskforce to end rough sleeping in five years, and action to end the scandal of flammable Grenfell-style cladding still endangering the lives of 60,000 people.

What's more, we'll make sure housing plays its part in tackling the climate crisis by introducing a tough, new zero carbon homes standard for all new build homes and upgrading homes to cut emissions and energy bills.

Click below to see my video summarising the key housing commitments in our manifesto, or read on.

What a Labour government will do

Social housebuilding and affordable homes

After almost a decade of Tory failure, the number of social rented homes being built is at record lows. More than a million people are stuck on council waiting lists, including over 5,000 in Croydon. At the current rate of building it would take 130 years to house them all.
 
Labour will invest to build over a million new genuinely affordable council and housing association homes over the next decade, the majority for social rent. We will:

  • scale up council house building so that we are building 100,000 council homes a year by the end of the parliament, a more than 3,500% increase.
     
  • build at least 50,000 additional genuinely affordable homes a year through Housing Associations by the end of the parliament.
     
  • at least 150,000 new council and social homes a year within five years, delivering the biggest council housebuilding programme since the years immediately after the Second World War, and the biggest overall affordable housebuilding programme since the 1960s.

The new plans will be paid for with funding from Labour’s Social Transformation Fund. Half of Labour’s Social Transformation Fund - around £75bn over five years - will be allocated to housing.

We will scrap the Conservatives’ bogus definition of ‘affordable’, set as high as 80% of market rents, and introduce a new Labour definition, linked to local incomes.
 
We will stop the haemorrhage of low-cost homes by ending right to buy and stopping the conversion of social rented homes to so-called ‘affordable rent’.
 
The punitive bedroom tax will be scrapped, and a new ‘Decent Homes 2’ standard will bring all council and housing association homes up to standard.

Homeownership

The number of younger home-owning households has fallen by almost 900,000 since 2010.
 
Labour will back first-time buyers to buy their first home, building thousands more low-cost homes reserved for first-time buyers, including new FirstBuy homes with prices linked to local incomes.
 
We will extend and re-focus Help to Buy on first-time buyers who need it, and give local people buying their first home ‘first dibs’ on new homes built in their area.
 
I’ve written the plan to end the scandal of leasehold for the millions of people who have bought their home but still feel like they don’t own it. We will end the sale of new leasehold properties, set a new, fairer formula for leaseholders to buy the freehold of their home, and abolish unfair fees and conditions.

Private rented sector

The number of renters has risen rapidly since 2010, to more than 11 million today. Over two million households pay more than a third of their income in rent. Private renters in Croydon are paying almost £200 more rent each month since 2013, as average rents in our area have gone up by 21%, way ahead of wage increases.
 
We will give renters new rights with rent controls, open-ended tenancies, and new, binding minimum standards.
 
We will cap rent rises, linked to inflation, to stop runaway rental costs, and talk to local leaders about additional controls in areas where the pressure of high rents is most acute.  
 
We will enforce new minimum standards so that every property is brought up to an acceptable standard, with sanctions for landlords who flout the rules.

Homelessness

Since 2010 the number of people sleeping rough has more than doubled. The number of children in temporary accommodation is up 80%, now standing at 123,000 children. 2,370 are in Croydon alone. A direct result of the government shamefully slashing investment for affordable homes, cutting housing benefit, reducing funding for homelessness services, and denying protection to renters.
 
Labour will end rough sleeping within the next Parliament, with a new national taskforce. We will build new homelessness hostels and renovate existing ones, and make 8,000 additional homes available for people with a history of rough sleeping.
 
We will tackle the wider causes of homelessness, including increasing local housing allowances and giving councils funding to commission high-quality homelessness services.

Fire safety

Since the tragic Grenfell fire two and a half years ago, the government has failed to act to make homes safe. Up to 60,000 people are still living in tower blocks covered in the same flammable cladding as Grenfell.

We will take urgent action to end the scandal of fire safety failures in tower blocks. 
 
A £1bn Fire Safety Fund will help retrofit sprinklers in all high-rise council and housing association tower blocks. Tough new controls will ensure new buildings are safe. And we will enforce the replacement of all dangerous cladding wherever it is found.

How we will do it

To make all this possible, our plan includes:
  • A new Department for Housing to plan and build new homes and regenerate existing housing across the country.
  • Councils tasked with building new homes and leading development in their areas.
  • A flourishing construction sector with a skilled workforce and rights at work.
  • A new English Sovereign Land Trust with powers to buy land more cheaply for more low-cost housing.
  • Using surplus public land to build genuinely affordable homes, rather than simply selling it off to the highest bidder.
  • Developers facing new ‘use it or lose it’ taxes on stalled housing developments.
  • The Land Registry kept in public hands, and  ownership of land made more transparent.
  • Brownfield sites the priority for development, with the green belt protected. 
 
Can I count on your support on 12th December?

YES, YOU CAN COUNT ON MY SUPPORT


NO, I'LL BE VOTING CONSERVATIVE


NO, I'LL BE VOTING LIB DEM

I'M STILL UNSURE

NO, I'LL BE VOTING FOR ANOTHER PARTY

Would you like to help campaign to fix the housing crisis? Click here to get involved.
Best wishes,


Sarah Jones
Copyright © 2019 Sarah Jones, All rights reserved.


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