Housing is moving back up the political agenda – and rightly so.
According to Shelter, house prices are now so high in relation to wages that someone in Yorkshire and Humber on average wage would have to save for 11 years before they could buy.
And it’s no better if you’re renting
Rent takes up an average of 40% of people’s incomes.
There is a housing crisis in Britain.
And there is only one party with credible plans to tackle it.
Last week Labour set out its plans.
They centre on fairer rents, but especially on house building – and the return of powers to localities – both to local authorities to build, and to local communities to build the homes they need, where they want them.
Labour will ensure fairer rents:
• We will legislate for 3-year tenancies giving renters security and peace of mind.
• We will end excessive rent rises by putting a ceiling on rent increases during the new three-year tenancies.
• We will ban unfair letting fees, saving the typical tenant £625 over the course of the next parliament and Generation Rent £2.5 billion.
But most important of all – Labour will increase the number of new homes built every year to 200,000 by 2020 with priority for first-time buyers by:
• Giving local communities stronger powers to build the homes needed in the places people want;
• Getting the public sector back into building;
• Tackling land banking through new “use it or lose it” powers;
• Shaking up the housing market by backing Small and Medium Enterprise builders through Help to Build;
• Building the next generation of Garden Cities;
• Granting first time buyers from the area priority access rights when new homes go on sale.
Nowhere is the LibDem/Tory Coalition’s failure more dismal than on housing.
Young people and families starting out know the dream of having a home of their own is disappearing into the distance.
We are building less than half the number of homes we need and young people are being priced out of the market with the average house price now eight times the average wage.
The Coalition has achieved record lows for house building and home ownership – and record highs for working people still living with their parents and young families having to pay rip off charges to rent.
Only Labour has a credible plan to build hundreds of thousands of new homes and give priority for those homes to young families just starting out.
And a plan for families who rent with new long-term tenancies to prevent rip-off rent rises.
Labour will include legislation in our first Queen’s Speech to ban letting agent fees charged to tenants, saving Generation Rent more than £2.5 billion over the parliament – or £625 for each family.
This is a better plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis with more homes, fairer rents and help for first-time buyers.
For Ed Miliband housing is a personal crusade.
On the wall of his office is a 1945 Labour poster promising “a non-stop drive to provide a good home for every family”.
He is determined to recover that spirit of ’45.
Don’t let the Tories take us back to the ‘30s.
To ensure a Labour Government – which has plans to solve this crisis – vote for Alex Sobel on May 7 here in Leeds NW
And sign up now to help him win.