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Housing pledges declared by Labour and Conservatives

Words: Laura Edgar

A Labour government would encourage banks to fund 125,000 homes for first-time buyers in England, says Ed Miliband, while George Osborne has announced that a Conservative government would aim to double the number of first-time buyers by 2020.

The scheme announced by Miliband would be based on the first-time buyer ISAs Osborne pledged in the Budget. The Labour leader explained that the party would invest the money in new housing developments.

Miliband set out the details of Labour’s housing policy at a rally in Warrington, at which he also pledged: “We will build at least 200,000 homes a year by the end of the Parliament.

“We won’t let those large developers just hoard land, waiting for it to go up in value when it could be used to build homes.”

Under Labour, developers would have to build on the land or face losing it, said Miliband.

Osborne, meanwhile, promised a “housing revolution”, with the Conservatives aiming to double the number of first-time buyers by 2020.

The first-time buyers ISA scheme would be used to finance widescale house building.

Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Osborne said: “I think we can deliver a revolution in home ownership. We want to see a massive increase in the number of people who can own their own home because home ownership is an absolutely core Conservative belief and aspiration that we support.

“I would like to see us double the number of first time buyers up to half-a-million. That is the kind of level we saw in the 1980s. There is no reason why our country can't achieve that again.

“That's a goal we set ourselves today.”

The Liberal Democrats have launched a Rent to Own scheme, which would allow first-time buyers to build up a share in their home through renting. By the end of the scheme, they would own their home.