Keir Starmer sets out Labour’s vision for “nation renewal” in speech at annual presidential dinner

Keir Starmer pledged to change the face of housing last night in an address to the annual Chartered Institute of Housing presidential dinner.

The Labour leader, speaking at the event in London, said “Make no mistake, we need to reform housing in this country.

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The Labour leader at last night’s Chartered Institute of Housing event in London (picture: Matthew Horwood)

“We need to make it the base camp for people to achieve their own aspirations, not the barrier that prevents people reaching the summit”

Starmer outlined Labour’s policy announcements over the past few months, including a pledge to build 1.5 million homes including social homes, extending Awaab’s law – which requires landlords to investigate hazards within 14 days – to the private sector. He re-iterated 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.

He pledged “build the Britain of the future” and usher in a “decade of national renewal.” He said the Conservatives have “failed families across the country”.

“The majority of young people now between 20 and 24 live with their parents, how are they supposed to seize opportunities and have ambitious dreams? It is impossible when they can’t leave their childhood bedroom.”

Starmer pointed to figures showing there are 140,000 children in temporary accommodation and 1.6 million children living “living in freezing houses with mould on the wall or water leaking from the ceiling.

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“I want a country where every person has a safe and secure place that they can call home, not just grinding day in and day out to pay the rent every month.”

Building 1.5 million over five years means housebuilding would hit 300,000 homes a year on average. Housing Today’s A Fair Deal for Housing campaign has been calling for the current Conservative-led government to recommit to its 300,000 homes a year pledge with a plan of action to get there.

Earlier at the same event Jill Murray, president of the CIH, argued that housing associations have unintentionally become the “fourth emergency service”

She said: “Many tenants and residents now turn to their landlord first of all, for help and support.

“In the 1980s we collected rent and did repairs - now we provide 24/7 helplines, food, money and benefit advice, emergency funds, digital inclusion, apprenticeships, employment support and opportunities, mental health counselling, out of school diversionary activities for young people and much more.”

She said Starmer, who is a close friend of her husband housing lawyer John Murray, is a “real hope for the future of the United Kingdom”.