John Healey tells Building there is ‘nothing to suggest’ target can be reached


Shadow housing secretary John Healey has slammed the government’s 300,000 homes a year target, saying there is absolutely no indication the goal will be reached.

Speaking to Housing Today’s sister title Building, Healey (pictured) said: “It’s a number that Tory ministers have plucked out of the air. They have no convincing plan in place for reaching that target.

“The only time in this country we have built consistently 300,000 homes a year was in the Labour years in the late 1960s when commercial housebuilders built at scale, councils built at scale and so did housing associations.”

“Nothing in the government’s current policy or funding framework suggests that we are going to see the sort of increase required to meet those sort of numbers.”

Healey, who spoke at the launch of the Construction Licensing Task Force in the House of Lords on Tuesday, said that Labour was committed to delivering 1,000,000 homes over 10 years, should the party be elected.

“We should be building more affordable housing. Who we build new homes for will be crucial,” he added.

The Labour MP told his audience he wanted to see a stronger, more stable planning system and wanted to shake up the land market. 

“We want to support the building sector, but in exchange for that we will expect more. And we want to smooth out the industry’s chronic cyclicality.”

But housing secretary James Brokenshire, who also attended the event, rejected Healey’s comments, telling Building the government was “determined” to build 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s.

Brokenshire said: “We are firmly committed to the target. Building 300,000 homes a year is something we fully intend to do by the middle of the mid-2020s.”

His comments came a month after housing minister Kit Malthouse publicly described the 300,000-figure as a “mythical target”.

Both Brokenshire and Healey said their respective parties would look carefully at the licensing proposals put forward by the taskforce in an effort to improve standards and crack down on “cowboy builders” in the construction sector.