Labour calls for prioritisation of truly affordable homes

In the wake of the Westferry ‘Cash for Favours’ Scandal, the Labour Party has called on the government to prioritise high-quality, zero-carbon, truly affordable homes over needs of developers.

Following reports that the government is considering radical plans to hand powers for major housing developments to Robert Jenrick, the ‘embattled’ Housing Secretary, and extending the use of permitted development for conversion of commercial units for residential use, Labour is demanding halt to the plans.

Correspondence between Jenrick and billionaire developer Richard Desmond allegedly shows that the Secretary of State helped the developer remove affordable housing from a planned scheme and avoid up to £50 million in tax.

According to the party, the move would jeopardise the building of new affordable homes and amounts to a ‘land grab’ on the planning system. Furthermore, they say it could signal pulling back on the commitment to making sure existing homes are well-insulated and energy efficient, both of which make many homes even more unaffordable.

Thangam Debbonaire, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said: “The Westferry scandal shows that for all their fancy language, the Tories are simply prioritising the demands of housing developers at the expense of people who need affordable homes. The arrogance of Robert ‘three-homes’ Jenrick proposing a roll-out of ill-adapted rabbit hutches is staggering – permitted development has been shown to be a failure and this is just another example of the Tories doing favours for their property developer mates. Meanwhile, our climate change targets are urgent, and there are millions of existing homes which need insulation and energy efficiency.

“Instead of thinking about housing developers’ business interests, the government should be focusing on the millions of people who see home ownership as an impossible dream, or the many key workers who have been stuck for years on council housing waiting lists and invest in high-quality, truly affordable homes which are well insulated and energy efficient and help to meet our zero-carbon emissions targets.”