Labour plans to target action on housebuilding from ‘day one’

The Labour Party wants to implement planning reforms in an effort to supercharge housebuilding as soon as it takes office if it wins Thursday’s election.

In an interview with The Times, party leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said they would “hit the ground running” and initiate a flurry of housebuilding initiatives from “day one”.

Starmer told the newspaper: “I want to make sure we can start on this from day one,” while Reeves said there was an “urgency” for Labour to become the party of housebuilders.

She added: “We all know that there is building on greenfield today, but it’s chaotic. We also know that there are different types of greenbelt land. Just because something’s designated ‘greenbelt’ does not mean it’s green.”

In April, the Labour party called for more homes to be built on greenbelt land. The party said it would take “a strategic approach” to greenbelt land designation, and would prioritise the release of lower-quality “greybelt” land, which the party defines as “poor quality land, car parks and wasteland”.

The party has consistently been leading opinion polls ahead of the 4 July vote.

Starmer has pledged to build 1.5 million homes over the next parliament.

The article added that Labour hopes would-be housing secretary Angela Rayner will announce a housebuilding programme at the start of the second week in power. The following week, Rayner is planning to write to local authorities telling them to begin a process of “regularly reviewing” greenbelt boundaries. This is to make sure they meet housing targets.

The party also wants to recruit 300 new planning officers to speed up the planning process, and prioritise new homes for local residents over property sales to overseas investors.

The Conservative Party has promised to build 1.6 million homes in the same period, if re-elected, with a new “fast-track route” through the planning system for new homes on previously developed land in the 20 largest English cities.

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