The Labour Party has announced it will tackle the affordable housing crisis in the UK by building more low-cost homes and improving energy-efficiency standards.
In its manifesto released on Thursday, Labour also pledged to tackle climate change by introducing a zero-carbon standard for new homes.
The policies are positive steps for the homebuilding industry, and while self builders, renovators and home improvers are not directly addressed, these pledges clear a path for improved quality and more affordable housing built across the UK.
However, Claire Lloyd, editor of Homebuilding & Renovating, has questioned the details behind the policies. She said: “It’s unclear as yet as to how Labour aim to deliver more low-cost homes, but Self Build Wales – a scheme which will make more funding and plots available to help young adults and families build their own affordable homes – could perhaps provide a roadmap for achieving this pledge.”
(MORE: Self Build: A Complete Guide)
How Will Labour Reduce Housing Costs?
Labour has pledged to “act on every front to bring the cost of housing down and standards up, so that everyone has a decent, affordable place to call home”.
The party will build more low-cost homes reserved for first-time buyers and reform Help to Buy to focus it on first-time buyers struggling to afford hefty deposits.
Labour will also create a new Department for Housing and set out a strategy to augment the construction sector with rising numbers of skilled workers.
(MORE: How to build a house for under £150,000)
Zero-Carbon Homes Standard
Labour will tackle the climate crisis and cut energy bills “by introducing a tough, new zero-carbon homes standard for all new homes”.
It will upgrade millions of existing homes to make them more energy efficient, and roll out heat decarbonisation technologies such as heat pumps, solar hot water and hydrogen to invest in reducing the costs of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen production.
These initiatives, Labour pledges, will reduce the average household energy bill by £417 per household per year by 2030. However, it is unclear how this calculation has been made.
“We will trial and expand tidal energy and invest to reduce the costs of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen production. We will upgrade almost all of the UK’s 27 million homes to the highest energy-efficiency standards […] and eliminating fuel poverty,” the manifesto says.
(MORE: What is an eco home?)
Labour will additionally set up a new English Sovereign Land Trust with powers to buy land at a lower cost. Rather than selling off land to the highest bidder, Labour will use public land to build the housing.
Moreover, developers will face “use it or lose it” taxes on stalled housing developments, meaning land supply will not be left locked.
Joseph Daniels, founder of modular developer Project Etopia, said of this move: “By going after landbanking developers and focusing on the crucial element of land supply, Labour have really shown they are determined to look properly at the real causes behind periodic declines in housebuilding.”