Shadow housing secretary and deputy Labour leader details new policy at UKREiiF event in Leeds

Story updated at 12.06pm

Angela Rayner has today announced a 40% affordable housing target on developments delivered through the party’s New Towns policy.

The shadow housing secretary and deputy Labour leader set out more detail about the policy at the UK’s Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum (UKREiiF) event in Leeds.

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Rayner announced developments must meet a ‘New Towns Code’ which will include a target to ensure 40% of homes are for affordable tenures.

This will also include “robust design codes” to ensure developments fit in with nearby housing, along with requirements to ensure an “infrastructure first” approach, green spaces and “fit-for-the-future layouts” with good transport links to towns and city centres.

Rayner said: ““Developers who deliver on their obligations to build high quality, well-designed and sustainable affordable housing, with green spaces and transport links and schools and GP surgeries nearby, will experience a new dawn under Labour. But those who have wriggled out of their responsibilities for too long will be robustly held to account.

“Labour’s towns of the future will be built on the foundations of our past. The post-war period taught us that when the government plays a strategic role in housebuilding, we can turbo-charge growth to the benefit of working people across Britain. That is what Labour’s plans will achieve.”

The new towns policy is part of the party’s pledge to build 1.5 million new homes over five years, which would match the current government’s 300,000 homes a year target, which it has not come close to meeting.

>>See also: Starmer pledges to ‘reform housing’ in address to CIH

>> Home Truths podcast: In conversation with Toby Lloyd, former No 10 adviser

In a speech to the Chartered Institute of Housing in February, Labour leader Kier Starmer pledged to reform housing as part of a vision for national renewal.

In addition to the 1.5 million homes pledge, the party is pledging to extend Awaab’s law – which requires landlords to investigate hazards within 14 days – to the private sector, along with measures to help people get on the housing ladder, including giving first time buyers priority in local areas and a new government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme. Starmer also confirmed Labour would create a new planning passport for urban brownfield development.

Election focus

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As thoughts turn towards the next general election, the UK is facing some serious problems.

Low growth, flatlining productivity, question marks over net zero funding and capability, skills shortages and a worsening housing crisis all amount to a daunting in-tray for the next government.

This year’s general election therefore has very high stakes for the built environment and the economy as a whole.

For this reason, Building is launching its most in-depth election coverage yet, helping the industry to understand the issues in play and helping to amplify construction’s voice so that the government hears it loud and clear.