Public backs Labour on housing as Balls to call for 100,000 new affordable homes
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government
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Labour has gone into its annual conference having opened up a 13-point lead over the Conservatives on housing with shadow chancellor Ed Balls expected to call for 100,000 new affordable homes to be built in his party address today.
Of the 1,000-plus adults polled across Great Britain by Ipsos MORI, 33% believed Labour had the best policies on housing, compared to the Conservatives with 20% of the vote and the Lib Dems with 6%.
Mr Balls will insist the 100,000 new homes - a mix of shared ownership, affordable rent and socal rent - can be financed through the £3bn-£4bn expected sale of 4G mobile phone spectrum.
He also wants the cash to finance a two-year stamp duty holiday for all first-time buyers of properties worth up to £250,000, which is expected to cost the Government £0.5bn.
Up until now, the party has called for a repeat of the bankers’ bonus tax to build 25,000 new affordable homes.
Mr Balls will say: “One year on, the need to kick-start the economy is even more urgent. So we must go further. With 119,000 construction jobs lost in two years and a 68% fall in the number of affordable homes being built, we need bold and urgent action now."
The party is also being backed by the public on welfare, with 33% believing Ed Miliband’s party has the better policies, compared to the Conservatives with 29% of the vote and the Lib Dems with 6%.
However, on the economy – which has consistently topped the list of public concerns, alongside unemployment, in Ipsos MORI’s Issues Index since 2008 - the public still backs the Tories. The party is also favoured on crime and anti-social behaviour and asylum and immigration.
Earlier this year, Labour leader Ed Miliband said he was not against a household benefit cap – due to come into force next April – or a shake-up of the allocations system to reward workers and those contributing to their communities.
He said: "I'm not against a cap. The problem with the Government's cap is that they're not doing it on a different basis in different parts of the country. If you live in central London where housing costs are much higher you're currently being faced with the same cap as if you live in Hertfordshire where actually living costs are lower. It's got to be done in an appropriate way."
Labour has also called on the government to extend its mortgage help scheme, NewBuy, to existing homes, not just new build.
The party also favours regulation in the private rented sector and is looking at the role taxation plays in land to encourage developers to build on sites which already have planning permission.
At their party conference last week, the Liberal Democrats outlined plans to revive social housing regulation, boost housebuilding to 300,000 new homes a year and remove the borrowing cap on local authorities to increase new supply.