Shadow Housing Secretary Lucy Powell is expected to fight new Housing Secretary Michael Gove, who is also responsible for levelling up the country
Image: Manchester Evening News)
Labour prepares to battle Michael Gove’s levelling up agenda with a pledge to give first time buyers exclusive rights to new-build homes for six months.
At its party conference this weekend Lucy Powell, Shadow Housing Secretary, is expected to unveil her plans to re-establish the link between genuinely affordable housing and average earnings.
Labour hopes to bring affordable rents and the dream of home ownership closer for those locked out of the system today.
They will also stop foreign investors snapping up homes before they are built, and often leaving them empty.
The Tories will need to nail their housing policies as the sector is key to levelling up the country and reducing inequalities between the north and south.
It’s seen as a key element of “levelling up” – and some in the Conservative Party wonder whether Mr Gove has been given his new job to drive development.
Today Ms Powell slammed the Tories housing failures, branding Conservatives as “the party of speculators and developers”.
“The Conservatives’ failures on housing today mean that they don’t have the answers to solve the challenges of tomorrow.
“They treat housing as a commodity, not the bedrock of stable lives and life chances.”
It follows Michael Gove’s appointment as Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary in last week’s reshuffle.
Learning of his new role, Ms Powell was quick to say she looks forward to being his opponent.
Many have deemed Mr Gove’s appointment as Levelling Up Secretary as Boris Johnson giving him a huge issue that could make or break the next election,
Ahead of conference, Ms Powell MP said: “The country is facing a housing crisis with the link between hard work and getting on the housing ladder broken for many. Insecure tenancies, and expensive rents make it hard for people who play by the rules to get on in life.
“The challenges of affordability, an ageing population, building safety and the climate emergency all mean we need a bold new approach.
“We will build a new settlement on housing, with a first step today forcing developers to build more truly affordable homes, and giving first time buyers’ first dibs on new developments so they can’t just be sold off-plan to second homeowners or foreign investors.”