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Labour unveils plans for affordable housing boom

Labour party

Labour would shake up affordable housing if elected and build one million cheap social homes in ten years, according to shadow housing secretary John Healey.

Labour says the term ‘affordable housing’ has become “bogus” and “discredited”, under the Conservatives, shadow housing minister John Healey tells the Guardian.

The coalition government has set guidelines for housing associations that ‘affordable’ rent prices can be up to 80 per cent of local private market rents.

Labour plans to change that if elected and will launch a green paper on the subject today, called Housing for the Many.

The green paper says that “one common yardstick for the maximum rent or mortgage payment that meets this test is a third of after-tax household income”.

Therefore Labour wants to bring in ‘FirstBuy’ homes, where mortgage payments are no more than a third of average local household incomes.

These homes will be aimed at working families, younger people and key workers such as NHS staff.

The party is also calling for an end to Right to Buy, stopping people from buying their own social homes.

The green paper also says a Labour government would “consider steps to enable more local authority mortgage lending to help local first-time buyers”.

Labour would also set up an English Sovereign Land Trust to help local authorities buy land cheaper.

The green paper adds that it would also stop current Government practices of “selling off public land to the highest bidder, with little concern for affordable housing”.

A Labour government will also keep the Land Registry public, though Conservative plans to privatise it have been shelved indefinitely.

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