Has your Constituency Labour Party moved our model resolution?
Labour’s housing policy, unanimously agreed at its 2019 conference, and incorporated in its General Election manifesto committed Labour to
- £155,000 social rent homes a year
- Of which at least 100,000 would be council homes, funded by £10 billion grant a year
- Ending Right to Buy
- A review of Housing Revenue Account debt.
The loss of the election obviously meant that these policies could not be implemented directly. However, such is the scale of the housing crisis that we cannot wait until the next general election. In a letter to Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner we said
“…we think that Labour should demand of the Tories now, what it committed to in its Manifesto, that they should provide £10 billion a year grant for new building of social rent council housing. This will not only address the housing crisis but will put back to work people thrown out of work as a result of the pandemic and the lock-down.”
Unfortunately there are questions as to whether the leadership is rowing back on these policies. Thangam Debbonaire floated the idea that Labour might not end RTB but commit instead to giving councils 100% of receipts for sales. In his virtual conference speech Keir Starmer identified “fixing the housing crisis” only with enabling young people to become home owners, whilst making no mention of council housing. There was no response from the Party to Johnson’s conference speech which boasted of “turning generation rent into generation buy” and described home ownership as “life affirming” (obviously unlike renting).
We believe there can be no resolution of the housing crisis without a return to large scale social rent council house building. We are asking for the model resolution below to be passed by CLPs, giving the message to the Labour leadership that we want them to:
- commit to the policies which were so enthusiastically backed by the party members at the last conference and
- to mobilise a campaign to pressure the government to make another U-turn, this one on funding of existing council housing and a new building programme.
Labour housing policy
This CLP is concerned at signals that the leadership of the Party may be rowing back on our existing housing policy. Shadow Housing Minister Thangam Debbonaire has raised the possibility that Labour might support 100% receipts for councils for Right to Buy sales, instead of ending RTB. Keir Starmer’s speech at the virtual Party conference referred to “fixing the housing crisis” only in terms of helping young people to become homeowners. He did not mention council housing.
We agree with the Labour Campaign for Council Housing that the housing crisis can only begin to be resolved with a large scale council house building programme.
We agree to write to Keir Starmer, Angela Rayner and Thangam Debbonaire calling on the Party to maintain its 2019 commitment to
- 155,000 social rent homes a year
- Of which at least 100,000 would be council homes funded by £10 billion grant a year
- Ending Right to Buy
- Review council housing ‘debt’.
Whilst the general election defeat obviously meant we could not implement these policies directly, we cannot wait until the next general election to tackle the housing crisis. The pandemic has shown the health consequences of poor and over-crowded housing. The likely spike in evictions will make the shortage of council housing even more acute.
Therefore, we call on Labour to campaign together with all those organisations that recognise the need for a large scale council building programme, including the growing tenants movement, to pressure a weak and shambolic government to make a U-turn on council house funding. We need to press these demands on the government.