Conservatives go head-to-head with Labour on housing with plans to build hundreds of thousands of low-cost homes

Theresa May will put plans to build hundreds of thousands of homes for social rent at the heart of the Conservatives’ election manifesto.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, May said she will change the law to help councils and housing associations build low-cost homes, to help “fix the broken housing market”.

The policy will be allied with the Right to Buy scheme, allowing tenants to buy their homes after 10 to 15 years.

May’s policy puts housing centre stage in the election campaign, with Labour under Jeremy Corbyn also prioritising affordable housing and building hundreds of thousands of council homes.

It also marks a dramatic shift from May’s predecessor David Cameron, whose policies, such as Help to Buy, were designed to increase housing supply indirectly by boosting demand and encouraging private housebuilders to build more.

Under the plans, the government will offer councils new money, help them borrow more and ease the laws governing compulsory purchase orders, according to the Sunday Times.

The full plans will be unveiled in the Conservative manifesto, due to be published on Thursday.