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Corbyn: Houses ‘should not be for the speculative few’

Words: Laura Edgar
Jeremy Corbyn / Shutterstock_596091488

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has announced that his party will review social housing policy and propose a ‘radical’ programme of action.

Speaking at the Labour Party Conference, Corbyn said the country has a duty to learn lesson from the fire at Grenfell Tower.

A decent home “is a right for everyone”, irrespective of income or background, and houses, he continued, “should be homes for the many, not speculative investments for a few”.

He noted that homelessness has doubled since 2010, with 120,000 children without a place to call home. Home ownership has fallen and “thousands are living in homes unfit for human habitation”.

So, Labour will review social housing policy – its building, planning, regulation and management – and “propose a radical programme of action” at next year’s conference.

The review then, will sit alongside work for a green paper on social housing sector launched by communities secretary Sajid Javid last week.

A Labour government would control rents, stating that the younger generation is spending three times more on housing costs than their grandparents did.


Corbyn said regeneration is a “much-abused” word.

“Too often what it really means is forced gentrification and social cleansing, as private developers move in and tenants and leaseholders are moved out.”

He explained that when councils come forward with proposals for regenerations, a Labour government would set down two markers based on the principle that regeneration would be for the “benefit of the local people, not private developers, not property speculators”.

People living on the estates put forward for regeneration would get a home on the same site on the same terms as before and councils “have to win a ballot of existing tenants and leaseholders before any redevelopment scheme can take place”.

It would be “real regeneration”, said Corbyn, “for the many, not the few”.

Polly Neate, CEO at Shelter, said: “There is a growing debate about the crisis facing those who rent, with families facing rising bills and insecure lets. Shelter supports controls that lengthen tenancies and protect families from unfair rent rises but not old-fashioned rent-setting, which we think could end up harming the very people on low incomes they’re meant to help, if and when landlords sell their properties.

“After the horrific tragedy of the Grenfell fire we believe it is absolutely essential to listen to tenants in a meaningful way and we hope the Labour Party will deliver on their promise to do so.”

Image credit | Shutterstock