LHG launches its 50 point plan at Labour Conference

By LHG Chair, Kerry Pollard.

Labour Housing Group launched its ’50 Point Plan’ called One Nation Housing Policy at a well-attended fringe meeting at Labour Party Conference on Sunday evening, held jointly with the Labour Finance and Industry Group.

The plan – a blueprint for housing over the next parliamentary term and beyond – can be read here.

The keynote speaker at the fringe meeting was Catherine McKinnell MP, shadow treasury minister (second left in the picture), together with  Mike Roberts of LFIG (right) and Jacky Peacock of LHG (left) and Chair Paula Hirst.

lhg fringe 2013 1 (2)

In her address, Catherine reminded us all that LHG should rename its blueprint ’49 Point Plan’ as Ed Miliband had announced the scrapping of the bedroom tax!

She went on to say that housing was at the heart of Labour’s thinking, talking of building 200,000 homes each year – 1 million over the life of the Parliament, providing not just the homes, but jobs, apprenticeships and playing a significant part in reviving the economy nationally and at a local level. Also affordability was key, it was no good building homes that people couldn’t afford, at the same time significantly reducing the benefit bill – the benefits to bricks policy. She also talked of unlocking the money that some of the large institutions had to invest in new housing stock.

Mike Roberts drew our attention to the major role that local authorities could play in this new housing initiative, they were best placed in knowing their communities, had drawn up the planning briefs and could themselves build again. He painted a dire current picture of hugely increased rough sleeping, waiting lists increasing and, in his own area, the use of redundant barrack blocks to temporarily house families. Further, he said his group had had quite positive meetings with some of the financial institutions.

Jacky Peacock (pictured below) stressed the need to take borrowing for house building out of the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement ( PSBR), no other country includes it, doing this would at a stroke enable sensible long term investment based on the security of the housing stock not on the rental stream   – much more attractive to institutional investors – it really is that simple!

lhg fringe 2013 2

There followed a good and informed Q & A session with contributions ranging across the whole spectrum of housing from funding, development, management and tenure.

The overriding message was that the incoming Labour Government had a golden opportunity to build 1 million homes, to provide jobs, apprenticeships, enabling our young people to live in decent affordable homes and scrap the bedroom tax – a winning combination.

The meeting took place at Friends Meeting House in Brighton.

Photos by Emma Burnell.

Follow LHG at @labourhousing and London LHG at @lhglondon
Picture LHG logo
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7 Responses to LHG launches its 50 point plan at Labour Conference

  1. Dean Williams says:

    There is a left-field solution to managing the housing crisis
    Firstly there are a couple of premises:
    • a home is a necessity, not a luxury
    • a home is not to be treated speculatively or as a long term investment, it is a necessity
    If we accept the above as true then government should take steps to make sure both of these premises remain true. It can do so by restricting the amount of profit that can be made from the sale of a home to 5%.
    A homeowner should be able to make repairs and even improvements to their home. The cost of improvements can be reflected in the selling price. It is the profit element that should be restricted to 5%.
    Folks will say it is impractical but a home is surveyed and valued before it is purchased and it is surveyed and valued before it is sold.
    The only stumbling block is likely to be greed and vested interests .. but then it was ever thus.

  2. Dan – all I’ll say is that the 50 point plan has caused quite a stir. Someone criticised it for being ‘a shopping list’. Yes indeed. Comms is important, but not everything should be a comms exercise. It’s an agenda for an incoming Labour Minister and each single item is backed up by experience and evidence. So I’d like to see Jack Dromey ticking items off one by one!

  3. Dan McCurry says:

    The interesting point is about PSBR, but it’s 1 of 50, which I think is really bad comms. No one wants to be offered a manifesto of 50 ideas. They want 3 at most.

  4. Maybe Ed is saving the best for his speech, as the papers suggest this morning…….

    Developers would love free reign in the green belt, nice easy land and big profits. Then they would stop building on harder sites. Building in the green belt is not the silver bullet to answer to the land question. There are still rafts of unused land in cities, including London. Personally I’d be happy with a more flexible approach in the green belt (eg low grade land) but still believe the green belt is a great achievement and even with shortage we should avoid the unplanned sprawl of executive homes that the developers would like to build. New settlements need to be mixed communities and we simply wouldn’t get that under current policies.

  5. Disappointing. Brownfield first and protection of green belts as a “general principle” will not build the number of homes we need. Labour needs to commit to building 250,000 homes a year and this will only happen if it addresses the issue of land and sets out plans for a programme of new settlements. The “cost of living crisis” is principally the housing crisis, yet Miliband said virtually nothing about housing in his Marr interview.

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