Party aiming for 70% home ownership amid rumours Sunak will revive Help to Buy later this year
Labour will restore mandatory housing targets in a bid to build 300,000 homes a year, Kier Starmer has said.
In a series of statements outlining the party’s housing policy in the lead up to this week’s local elections, Starmer said he wanted Labour to become “the party of home ownership” with seven in 10 homes built for homeownership.
The Labour leader wants to reintroduce the housing targets which Rishi Sunak is seeking to water down following a rebellion by more than 50 Conservative MPs.
The government is proposing giving councils flexibility to depart from housing targets and instead of being calculated through a central formula, from which councils can only depart with strong reasons, the targets would become merely an advisory “starting point”.
Starmer also said he would hand more power to local authorities by obliging them to work together to come up with plans for development at a regional level with the incentive of new infrastructure as a reward for building more homes.
It comes amid reports that Sunak is considering reintroducing Help to Buy as a key plank of the Conservative’s plan to win a fifth term in office.
Government sources told the Times the first-time buyers’ scheme was “back on the table” and could be included in chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement.
Help to Buy, which offered new buyers a government loan of up to 40% of the purchase price with no interest payable for five years, was launched by George Osborne in 2013 but closed last year.
Another option being considered by ministers is an extension of the mortgage guarantee scheme underwriting 95% mortgages that is set to end this year, according to the reports.