Last week, the Labour Party took to the stands in Liverpool to announce its plans to drive the UK’s growth ahead of the general election next year.

Labour put forwards plans to transform the planning system to accelerate house building with Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner stating it to be the ‘biggest boost in affordable and social housing for a generation’ to help solve the housing crisis.

Starmer promised to build ‘the next generation’ of new towns, along with 1.5 million homes across five years, as well as a new deal on affordable homes to build at least 100,000 genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy a year by 2030.

Among these announcements were several commitments by Government including:

  • Changes to national planning policy to accelerate brownfield development in cities.
  • Allow councils and housing associations to use a greater proportion of the grant funds they receive.
  • Adopt Law Commission proposals including making it easier for leaseholders to buy the freehold or extend their lease.
  • Bring forward a new bill to scrap nutrient neutrality rules.
  • Committed to a target of 70% homeownership.
  • Strengthening section 106 agreements, a fast-tracked planning process for sectors of priority growth.
  • First dibs for first time buyers; supporting younger people the first chance at homes in new housing developments with a government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme.

Reeves argued that green industries will be at the heart of the Labour strategy and committed the following proposals to help the UK reach its net zero ambitions:

  • Labour will establish a state-owned energy firm – GB Energy – to unlock both public and private investment into UK green energy technologies, insulating millions of homes and establishing a new national wealth fund.
  • Investment of £10 billion pounds over the next ten years to restore nature.
  • 100% clean electricity by 2030.
  • Reduce energy demand by insulating 19 million homes over a decade.
  • Plans to ‘re-wire Britain’ to make it easier for new developments to connect to the Grid and create new energy jobs.
  • Investment into clean energy networks.
  • Increase investment in charging infrastructure and the electric vehicle supply chain.

Our clients react to the announcements below.

Marc Woolfe, Director of Sales and Marketing at David Wilson North Thames:

“Originally created as a response to get Britain building after the Second World War, new towns have a proven track record of boosting local economies, providing quality homes in areas people want to live, and ensuring residents have access to as many facilities as they need, thus creating relatively autonomous communities. As Labour pledge to reinstate new towns, the M1 corridor around Milton Keynes has been tipped as a target area.

As house prices in London and its suburbs become more unattainable, we are seeing an increasing number of first-time buyers heading north up the M1 in search of more reasonable house prices – so it is unsurprising that Milton Keynes will likely be a key beneficiary should Labour’s plans for new towns go ahead. At our Clipstone Park development in Leighton Buzzard, just outside Milton Keynes, we are working with a consortium of developers to deliver self-sustained communities with facilities such as schools, shops and transport links within easy reach. And at Kingsbrook in Aylesbury, we have adopted a similar approach to create a near-enough garden city. The benefits of new towns mean that generations to come can look to adopt a more sustainable way of life, rather than needing to get in a car and drive simply to access essential services.”

Simon Cox, Managing Director at Walter Cooper:

“The issue is people can’t get planning permission, not that they don’t want to develop their land. It doesn’t seem to make much sense. Local planning departments are overworked and underpaid, with jobs available for upwards of three years with some outsourcing to Australia. We need to ring fence planning department fees and run the departments like viable businesses. Right now, you’ve got planners dealing with local plans for a new porch at the same time as plans for a 700-unit new settlement.”