THERESA MAY finally admitted that the housing market was “broken” yesterday, but Labour dismissed her sketchy new plan to support the building of council houses as a hollow bid to reach out to working-class voters.
Under the Tory plan, the government would look to strike deals with councils and housing associations, providing support via direct funding and extra borrowing to build new homes.
Though the Prime Minister’s move will be seen as a break with the right-to-buy legacy of Margaret Thatcher, there are strings attached.
A proportion of the properties would be required to have a fixed-term social rent — typically 10 or 15 years — at which point they would be sold with the tenant being given the option to buy.
Labour housing spokesman John Healey dismissed Ms May’s pledge to wave a magic wand over the housing crisis. He said: “This is political spin, with no substance.
There’s no commitment on the number of new affordable homes or on new funding.
Vague on the funding, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon admitted on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “It’s not new money.”
And Tory Police Minister Brandon Lewis told the BBC’s Sunday Politics that the number would “depend on the negotiations we have with local authorities.
“I’m not going to put a number on it today,” he said.
In contrast Labour has said that it wants to see at least a million new homes built over the next five years, with at least half of them council houses.
According to figures released by the Tories, there are now 300,000 fewer council and housing association homes than 20 years ago. About 1.2 million families are on council waiting lists.