People in Wyre Forest need new homes and only Labour will deliver them.
A decent home at a price people can afford is essential for a healthy, happy family life. Yet for too many people in Wyre Forest the current housing shortage, combined with the cost of living crisis, is making rents increasingly expensive and putting home ownership out of reach.
We’re currently facing the biggest housing crisis in a generation with less than half the number of new homes we need being built. David Cameron is presiding over the lowest level of homes built in peacetime since the 1920s and already families are suffering from some of the worst housing shortages for a generation.
I’ve spoken to young people in Wyre Forest and they’ve told me how frustrated they are at being locked out of the housing market. If home ownership is to be a realistic aspiration for local people, and rents are to be affordable, then we need to dramatically increase the number of homes being built both locally and across the country.
But the Tory Government in Westminster refuses to do anything about the housing crisis. That’s why Ed Miliband has this week launched a Housing Commission, chaired by Sir Michael Lyons, which will outline how the next Labour Government will build at least 200,000 homes a year by 2020.
We need councils to become ‘homebuilders’ and the next Labour Government will help by giving them a ‘right to grow’. Local authorities that want to expand and build the homes their communities need will have access to a fast-track planning process to resolve any disputes with neighbouring authorities that are blocking development.
Labour will also tackle the growing practice of land hoarding – whereby private developers hold onto land as it grows in value instead of actually building homes on it. Councils will be given powers to charge developers fees when they are sitting on land with planning permission and holding back development, and proper compulsory purchase order powers where developers sit on land and refuse to build.
These are just some of the ways the next Labour Government will deal with the housing crisis. Nobody should be in any doubt about our determination to rebuild our country, get our construction industry working again and to give families in Wyre Forest the security of a home they can afford.
Dr Matt Lamb Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Wyre Forest.