Scrapping housing targets will cost renters £200 a year, says Labour

·3-min read

Rishi Sunak’s decision to scale back housing targets could cost renters an extra £200 a year by 2030, Labour has claimed as it ramps up its pitch as “the party of home ownership”.

The Opposition promised to never treat tenants “like second-class citizens”, as it suggested the Prime Minister’s approach to planning will lead to the lowest rate of housebuilding since the Second World War.

Last year, Mr Sunak caved in to pressure from Tory backbenchers to make the target of building 300,000 homes a year in England advisory rather than mandatory.

Changes to the national planning policy framework will cost an extra £208 a year by 2030 if current trends continue, according to Labour analysis of industry data.

Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner
Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour is pushing itself as the party of home ownership (Peter Byrne/PA)

Labour has pledged to reverse the changes in Government and introduce a “renters’ charter” which will include a national register of landlords, longer notice periods and a ban on no-fault evictions.

The party said the figures came from analysis of data from planning and development consultancy Lichfields.

Data for March showed the biggest fall in housebuilding activity since the first Covid lockdown, Labour said, with housebuilding predicted to drop to the lowest rate since the Second World War.

Shadow housing secretary Lisa Nandy said: “Rishi Sunak’s reckless decision to roll over to his own MPs doesn’t just mean he’s abandoned a whole generation of young people’s dreams of homeownership – it’s also hitting renters right now who are already facing a cost-of-living crisis.

“The next Labour government will never treat renters like second-class citizens. We will tilt the balance of power with a new renters’ charter that will deliver powerful new rights and protections for tenants, including longer notice periods, a ban on no-fault evictions, and the right to make changes to your home.

“We will also build more homes to both rent and buy, including social and affordable homes, and we will restore social housing to the second largest form of tenure.”

To let signs
Labour said its renters’ charter would hand ‘powerful new rights and protections’ to tenants (PA)

It comes after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer announced a raft of measures aimed at getting more people on the property ladder.

These include the introduction of a target of 70% home ownership and pushing power back to communities by allowing local authorities to regain control, he said.

Labour has accused the Government of “abandoning” first-time buyers, suggesting only a third of children born in England this year will own a home by the time they reach their 50s.

“Labour is proudly the party of homeownership,” Ms Nandy said.

Meanwhile, Sir Keir used an interview with Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday to claim Mr Sunak has “killed” the dream of owning a property by bowing to pressure from Tory members.

Sir Keir said: “That shows a fundamental weakness. It is he who accepts he gave into them. He’s killed that dream of homeownership.”

The Tories hit back, describing Labour’s policy as a “mess” and insisting they could not be trusted to deliver.

“The last Labour government built the lowest number of houses since the 1920s and the Labour-run Welsh government completed just 5,000 new homes last year,” the minister for housing and planning, Rachel Maclean, said.

“The reality is you can’t trust Labour to deliver homes and deliver them in the right places.

“In contrast, we have built over two million homes since 2010, are clamping down on rogue landlords and have a plan to halve inflation to help millions of people with the cost of rent. Our priorities to halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists and stop the boats will help everyone feel better off.”