Scheme aims to get more people on to the property ladder while keeping homes out of private hands.

Deputy prime minister John Prescott has announced new government plans to help families get onto the property ladder, restricting developments that are deemed to 'waste' land by building large homes on big plots, and introducing part-rent, part-buy options on council and housing association properties.

'First-time buyer estates' will also be built on government plots, allowing people who cannot afford to break into the housing market to buy property without the land it is built on.

The plans, which will be a central plank of the Labour party's election campaign, will aim to keep social housing stock levels stable; if house prices rise and residents want to move into a private house, they will have to sell their first-time buyer home back to the council or housing association.