A million new homes by 2020;
Slashing stamp duty for first time buyers;
Giving first time buyers priority on new homes;
More affordable and social housing.

These were among today’s announcements on housing. Add them to yesterday’s promises to those in the rented sector and you have Labour’s sixth pledge:

Homes to Buy and Action on rents.
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Britain is in the midst of a housing crisis – and housing should be near the top of the political agenda.
Labour has now put it there.

The LibDem/Tory Coalition has presided over the lowest level of house-building for almost one hundred years and the lowest levels of home ownership in a generation – a dismal record of inaction and failure.

Ed Miliband today unveiled Labour’s plan to put first time buyers first by reducing stamp duty to zero and giving them priority access on new homes built;
– the next stage in Labour’s comprehensive programme to tackle our country’s housing crisis by building the homes local people need and taking action on rents.

The measures announced today will help first time buyers as the next Labour government embarks on the biggest house-building programme for a generation, increases the number of affordable homes, and introduces secure three-year tenancies with rents capped.

In a speech in Stockton, he declared Labour’s plan is needed to tackle a modern housing crisis in which a severe shortage of new homes being built has priced millions of people out of the property market and left many who want to buy living in private rented accommodation.

And he condemned the Coalition for presiding over the lowest rates of house-building since the 1920s, the lowest rate of home ownership for 30 years and a market where buy-to-let landlords and foreign investors are snapping up properties before local people get a chance.

Mr Miliband set out the key elements of Labour’s comprehensive plan to help people get the decent homes they deserve:

Put first time buyers first:
. Help with your first home: Labour will reduce stamp duty to zero for first time buyers of homes worth up to £300,000 – a saving of as much as £5,000 for people seeking to get on the property ladder.
· First Call: Labour will give first time buyers that have lived in an area for more than three years “first call” on up to half of homes built in their area.
· Local First: Labour will stop foreign buyers buying up properties before local buyers get a look in by ensuring they are advertised in local areas, increasing taxes paid by foreign buyers and council tax for empty homes.

The biggest house building programme in a generation
Labour’s plan will start construction on 1 million new homes by 2020 to deliver our promise of getting 200,000 homes built a year, with “use or lose it” powers ensuring developers build on land rather than hoarding it via the right to levy council tax on sites which remains undeveloped, as well as plans for a series of new garden cities and wider reform of the housing market.

More affordable and social housing
Labour’s plan will build more affordable homes year-on-year by strengthening affordable housing obligations on developers which have been watered down by the Tories, prioritising capital investment and allowing Labour’s £5 billion Future Homes Fund to invest in housing associations developing affordable homes.

Action on rent
Labour will bring in secure three-year tenancies for those who want them and cap rents so they cannot rise by more than the rate of inflation during this period. We will also ban letting agent fees – saving the average household £625 over the next parliament – and introduce a national register of landlords so that a minority of rogue owners can be identified, with tax relief restricted for those who do not meet basic standards.

The LibDem/Tory Coalition has totally failed to deal with the housing crisis. Only a Labour government in two weeks’ time will turn this round with a plan to build more homes, back renters and give aspiring first-time buyers a leg up the ladder.

If you agree with our policies, use your vote to secure a Labour government. And if you really want to help do that, support the campaign for Alex Sobel to win here in Leeds NW – sign up now.

EXTRACTS from the speech:
Ed Miliband described the modern housing crisis:
“There’s nothing more British than the dream of home ownership, starting out in a place of your own. But for so many young people today that dream is fading with more people than ever renting when they want to buy, new properties being snapped up before local people get a look-in, young families wondering if this country will ever work for them. That is the condition of Britain today, a modern housing crisis which only a Labour government will tackle.”
He said Labour has a better plan:
“If we win the election in just a few days’ time, the next Labour government will make sure there are homes to buy and take action on rents. It is a better deal for housing, a better start for the next generation, a better plan, a better future for Britain.”
He said Labour will offer real help for first time buyers:
“It is simply too expensive for so many young people to buy a home today, saving up for the deposit, paying the fees and having enough left over for the stamp duty. So we’re going to act so we can transform the opportunities for young working people in our country. For the first three years of the next Labour government, we will abolish stamp duty for all first time buyers of homes under £300,000.”
He heralded the biggest house building programme for a generation:
“We will start construction of one million homes over the next five years, so at least 200,000 homes a year are getting built by the end of the Parliament with a new generation of towns, garden cities and suburbs, unlocking land being hoarded by large developers, telling them either you use the land, or you lose the land.”
He showed how Labour will give priority on these homes for first time buyers:
“We will make sure there is real priority for first-time buyers because it is no good people seeing houses going up in their community, if they are then not able to buy them because they are snapped up by investors from overseas. So with Labour, first time buyers who have lived in an area for more than three years will have first call on up to half of all the new homes built in their area. Because in the Britain we believe in houses should be lived in by families, not just set aside for speculators.”
And he promised action on rents:
“We’re going to have fairness for those who rent their homes too with three year stable tenancies and a real cap on how much rents can rise in that time, set at no more than inflation. So that people can enjoy real security in the place they live.”

Ed Balls, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said:
“A Labour Treasury after the election will tackle the housing crisis and back young people aspiring to buy their own home.
“Our fully-funded plan will slash stamp duty to zero for first time buyers on properties up to £300,000. This will save money that can instead be put towards a deposit and all the other costs that mount up when you buy a home. And we’ll get more affordable homes built too, with the biggest house-building programme in a generation.”

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