Reeves recommits to housing manifesto pledges

Reeves recommits to housing manifesto pledges
Christina Hoghton
Written By:
Christina Hoghton

New Chancellor Rachel Reeves used her first major speech to reaffirm the Government's aim to get Britain Building again.

The Government has said it will build one-and-a-half million homes during this Parliament.

And it will reinstate mandatory housing targets. This means that local authorities can decide where new housing is built, but “the answer cannot always be no”, said Reeves.

The Government wants to reform the planning system as a matter of urgency and is also recruiting 300 new planning officers.

It is also bringing in a new “grey belt” category for what was previously designated greenbelt, making more land available to build homes on.

Jonathan Stinton, head of intermediary relationships at Coventry Building Society, said: “The commitment to building homes is very welcome – but much like a British summer, there’s always the prospect it’ll get rained off.

“It’s very promising to see housebuilding at the forefront of the Government’s agenda, and the housebuilding targets are a strong start, but we’ve seen similar targets set and missed before. It’s still early days but there’s a huge amount of work to be done – and no time to waste – if the chronic under-supply of housing is really going to be addressed.”

Nick Leeming, chair of Jackson-Stops, added: “Labour is grasping the nettle of planning reform and signalling to the industry that they are serious about change. Our latest research revealed over a fifth (22%) of the nation believe building on brownfield land and low-quality grey belt land would improve the housing market.

“Interestingly, this trend was felt most strongly amongst older generations, with over a quarter of the over-55s agreeing that building on this land would improve the housing market. No doubt, this trend is being driven by those keen to see their children and grandchildren get onto the housing ladder.”

Affordable homes

Labour will introduce new ‘golden rules’ so that developers are required to target 50% affordable housing.

The party said it wants to change the Affordable Homes Programme to make sure it delivers more homes from existing funding.

And it intends to review the increased ‘right to buy’ discounts to protect social housing stock.

The Government will also make the current Mortgage Guarantee Scheme permanent (with the new name, Freedom to Buy). The scheme was due to end in June 2025 under the previous Government.