This is a response to the interim report from the Housing, Transport and Local Government policy Commission of the Labour Party.
Joint Submission to the National Policy Forum from theLabour Campaign for Council Housing, Labour Homelessness Campaign, Labour Tenants United, Labour Land Campaign.
A meeting attended by representatives from the above four organisations was held via Zoom on 18th February 2021. The outcome of the discussion of the interim document from the Housing, Transport and Local Government Policy commission is given below.
We note the statement from Keir Starmer in the introduction to the report: –
‘Your insight has enabled the NPF to provide a set of grounding principles to shape our policy for the challenges and opportunities ahead.
The principles outlined in the report are based on the values that bring us together as a Party and lay the foundations for the work we will do together over the next four years. ’
We do not believe that submissions to the policy process are made to inform, what are, for the most part, a vague set of principles; they are made, as directed by the policy website itself, with the aim of shaping policy. We therefore urge the leadership team to review the policy submissions made, and to derive a clear set of policy statements from them on which Labour can focus its work in opposition and on which we can build when we achieve power.
Our organisations have made submissions in the course of the 2020 policy consultation and are disappointed and angry to note that many of our policy proposals have not even been acknowledged in the interim document and are not covered within the principles covering the Housing aspect of commissions report. We have, therefore, set out below a summary of the policies that we believe should be contained in this document as a basis on which to move forward.
A ten point plan for housing
1. Provide greater security to tenants in the private sector by.
- Calling upon the government to urgently bring forward it’s proposal to end section 21 “no fault” evictions, and
- ending section 8 evictions.
2. Introduce rent controls to ensure affordability in the private rented sector.
3. Decriminalise squatting and, by means of compulsory purchase or other appropriate council action, bring the thousands of homes across the country that remain empty for extended periods, into use as affordable housing.
4. End the criminalisation of behaviours associated with homelessness such as begging and rough sleeping, including through the 1824 Vagrancy Act and anti-social behaviour legislation.
5. End homelessness by reversing all homelessness funding cuts, and implementing a Housing First system with funded floating support delivered by in-sourced, unionised homelessness services.
6. Ensure public assets are used for public benefit. Where public land is available and there is a need for council housing, that land should be available at existing use value for council housing. No public land appropriate for housing should be used for anything else unless local housing need is met. Prohibit giving away or selling public land at preferential rates to private housing developers.
7. End the Right to Buy.
8. To resolve the impact of the high cost of land on the affordability of housing, replace all property taxes with a Land Value Tax.
9. Address the long-standing imbalance in government funding and support in favour of private sector housing developers. End the Help to Buy and other similar home ownership subsidy schemes and fund a large scale council house building programme of 150,000 affordable homes per year, of which 100,000 must be council homes with secure tenure and affordable rents.
10. Where there is an identified need to regenerate within a community, this regeneration must be supported by the community. If the regeneration and redevelopment plans include redevelopment of council housing, this redevelopment must result in a net increase in the number of council homes with secure tenure and social rents.