Labour plans to double number of first-time buyers

 
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The Labour party will set out plans to give first-time buyers top priority by handing more powers to local communities in England for new house building. The party will pledge to double the number of first-time buyers over the next 10 years should it be returned to office.

Furthermore, Labour wants 200,0000 homes a year to be built by 2020, with councils granted powers to reserve a proportion for first-time buyers.

Councils would also be allowed to reserve some housing for first-time buyers for up to two months. Ed Miliband claimed the plan was "fair" and would increase development.

The Labour leader will publish a report today by former BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons, which argues swathes of potential development land is being "held as a speculative investment when local people need homes". Housing has become a key political battleground with high prices and deposits pricing many first-time buyers out of the market.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics on Tuesday showed the average house price in London has now reached £514,00 while prices in the South East had climbed to £338,000. Research from property website Rightmove and Oxford Economics last week estimated an increase in house prices of 30 per cent by 2019.

In what could prove a highly contoversial part of the scheme, councils would be given the power to restrict sales to buy-to-let investors or speculators.

The Labour leader will say:

There has been a systematic failure to build the homes our country needs.

And, for too many young families, the dream of home ownership is fading fast.

Responding to the Lyons Review, National House Building Council’s (NHBC) chief executive Mike Quinton said:

NHBC welcomes the comprehensive nature of the Lyons Review and the commitment by Labour to put housing at the top of the policy agenda. The UK still has a chronic shortage of new homes so we warmly support measures that will help support the delivery of more high-quality homes.

In particular, we support Labour's proposal to make housing a capital spending priority and the commitment to help small builders to grow and prosper. Recent research, carried out by the NHBC Foundation, has found that small house builders and developers in the UK face serious barriers to growth with planning, access to finance and land availability highlighted as the biggest challenges for small companies.

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