” I’m sorry I can’t be with you today. There’s never been a time when housing has been such an important issue for millions of people. We have a deepening housing crisis created by decades of allowing policy to be dictated by the market. Housing policy must be about providing homes for the many, not investment opportunities for the few.
This weeks budget shows the government is not prepared to take the action needed to solve the crisis. Beneath the accounting tricks and spin, nothing they announced on Wednesday will guarantee that a single additional home is built.
We need to change direction. A Labour government will invest in housing. By doing that we’re also investing in the next generation. So I want to see a return to building high quality, energy efficient council housing, with secure permanent tenancies and truly affordable rents. The post-war Labour government managed to build half a million council homes in five years. We need that scale of ambition again.
But we also need to look at other aspects of the housing crisis. The situation for private renters is appalling, paying half or more of their income on rent, often for sub-standard, overcrowded homes and mostly only ever two months away from an eviction notice. Labour will give cities the powers to introduce rent controls, and improve the tenancy conditions of private tenants so they can plan their lives without constant insecurity.
As I said in my speech at Labour Party conference, I also want to see an end to regeneration projects being used for social cleansing. That’s why the next Labour government will put residents at the heart of estate management. As I said in my speech to Labour Party conference in September:
When councils come forward with proposals for regeneration, we will put down two markers based on one simple principal:
Regeneration under a Labour government will be for the benefit of the local people, not private developers, not property speculators.
First, people who live on an estate that’s redeveloped must get a home on the same site and the same terms as before. No social cleansing, no jacking up rents, no exorbitant ground rents.
And second, councils will have to win a ballot of existing tenants and leaseholders before any redevelopment scheme can take place.
Real regeneration, yes, but for the many not the few.
Grenfell Tower was a preventable disaster. Real Justice for Grenfell means a society where there’s decent, secure, truly affordable and safe homes for all. The next Labour government will deliver that. “