Labour will today highlight the government’s failure to build enough homes to tackle the housing crisis during the party’s opposition debate.
Labour MPs will use new figures compiled by the party on the housing gap in England over the financial year of 2012/13.
Hilary Benn, shadow communities and local government secretary, said the number of homes being built was less than half the number required.
He said: ‘Three years into the Tory-led government, there are still simply not enough homes being built to meet the needs of young people, families and many older people looking to downsize into suitable accommodation.
‘House building remains below half of the numbers required, and that’s why Ed Miliband has asked Sir Michael Lyons to come forward with proposals to reform the land market, widen the range of house builders, enable towns without enough building land to grow to meet need and encourage the building of new towns and garden cities.’
The party will argue in the debate after 12pm in the House of Commons main chamber that the housing shortage is central to the cost-of-living crisis. Labour will target rising rents and the number of people in the queue for a social home, which they argue is at a record high of five million.
Emma Reynolds, shadow housing minister, said: ‘The failure of the government to build the homes the country needs and to tackle the cost-of-living crisis will mean home ownership remains out of reach of low and middle-income earners, rents will continue to rise faster than wages and waiting lists will grow ever longer.
‘Labour is determined to tackle this housing crisis and will increase house building to at least 200,000 a year by 2020.’
Defending the government’s record, housing minister Kris Hopkins said: ‘Thanks to Labour’s boom and bust, house building fell to its lowest peacetime level since the 1920s.
‘Under this government, both house building and first-time buyers are now at their highest since 2007. Thanks to our long-term economic plan and decisive action to tackle Labour’s deficit, we have kept interest rates down and mortgage arrears are now at a record low. Labour’s plans for more borrowing and more debt would just mean higher taxes and mortgage rates, making it more difficult for hardworking people to get on and move up the housing ladder.’
The figures for homes built were taken from the National Housing Federation’s Home Truths report for 2013-14; figures for homes needed were taken from the Town and County Planning Association’s report New Estimates of Housing Demand and Need in England, 2011 to 2031
Region/nation Homes built 2012/2013 Homes needed Housing gap England 106,500 243000 -136,500 London 19,620 56400 -36780 Yorkshire & The Humber 6,990 20700 -13710 North West 10,490 19600 -9110 East 13,770 30600 -16830 South West 13,910 24200 -10290 West Midlands 8,620 20800 -12180 East Midlands 9,150 20500 -11350 South East 19,860 41700 -21840 North East 4,090 9000 -4910