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. Instead of being calculated through a central formula, from which councils can only depart with strong reasons, the targets would instead become merely an advisory “starting point”.

Keir Starmer portrait

Keir Starmer

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.

The Conservatives pledged to build 300,000 homes a year by the mid 2020s in their 2019 manifesto. Housing Today’s A Fair Deal for Housing campaign is calling for the government to re-commit to this target with a plan of action and is seeking ideas from the industry about how hitting it might be achieved.

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.

A Fair Deal for Housing campaign 

A fair deal 3x2

Housing Today believes the government should not back away from its manifesto pledge of building 300,000 new homes a year by the middle of the decade. We badly need more homes and a lack of supply is a major factor in creating problems of affordability for both buyers and renters.

Over the next few months, Housing Today  will be exploring potential solutions to help us ramp up housebuilding to 300,000. These are likely to, include different ways of working, funding asks of government and policy ideas that could boost housebuilding.

We want to hear from you: what do you think can make a difference at a policy level?

What can the industry do better?

We believe that, with the right commitments from ministers and the industry, it is possible to build more homes and help the government to meet its objectives to “build beautiful”, improve quality and safety, boost home ownership and level up the UK.

Click here to find out more about the campaign

To contribute ideas to our A Fair Deal for Housing Ideas Zone database, click here.

A Fair Deal for Housing is part of the Building the Future Commission.