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Homes for social rent at 'core' of Labour housing policy

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A future Labour government would “reclaim” the term “affordable housing” and redefine it under terms more conventionally understood as “social rent”, according to Labour’s new housing green paper.

Homes for social rent would form the “core” of Labour’s affordable housing programme, with average rents placed at half the private market rate.

In launching the green paper ’Housing for the Many’, shadow secretary of state for housing John Healey said he would set up a range of “wide reforms” to force developers to build social housing.

Mr Healey said: “The housing market is broken and current Conservative housing policy is failing to fix it. We have to build more affordable homes to make homes more affordable.

“The Conservatives won’t do this, so the next Labour government must, by hard-wiring Labour’s new affordable housing throughout the system, from house-building targets to investment priorities to planning rules.”

The green paper sets out a series of policy suggestions, including an English Sovereign Land Trust, which would allow the government to compulsory purchase land from developers without taking the price of planning permission into consideration. This new fund, which would create land for social housing, would be enforced under a change to the 1961 Land Compensation Act.

The green paper also announces a “range of wider reforms to overhaul the system”, including giving local authorities the power to retrieve developer profits from completed sites which don’t include the required numbers of affordable housing.

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