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A Labour Government will tackle the Housing Crisis

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This chronic shortage of housing is having an impact across the country. Young people and families are struggling to get on the property ladder. Those renting privately are now having to pay record sums, on average 41% of their income just to keep a roof over their heads. It’s also affecting those who want to upsize to a bigger home but are finding they can’t bridge the gap between what they own and where they want to move to. And for those who have just joined a waiting list for a social home, there are 1.7 million families already in the queue

That’s why, last year, Ed Miliband set a target for the next Labour government to build over 200,000 homes a year by 2020.

It’s a big ambition. But, Labour is determined to make home ownership a realistic aspiration for the next generation.  We know that there is no single solution to tackling the housing shortage. That is why alongside our ambition, Ed Miliband tasked our housing commission, chaired by Sir Michael Lyons, to draw up a roadmap for achieving this step-change in house building.

Labour is determined to tackle the root causes of this crisis. We need to release more land for development. We will ensure that local authorities that want to expand but do not have the land can do so through a right to grow. Alongside this, Labour is determined to reform the land market. We will bring an end to land-banking by giving local authorities the power to levy fines and use proper compulsory purchase powers on those who sit on land with planning permission, so that they have to 'use it or lose it.'

We also want to support more firms to enter into the market and encourage small-scale and self-build so we can make the most of all opportunities to create a thriving housebuilding industry. That is why, earlier this year, alongside Chris Leslie, Labour's Shadow Chief Secretary, I announced the details of Labour's Help to Build policy specifically designed to help SME builders. In the Federation of Master Builders' 2013 House Builder Survey, 60 per cent of members cited access to finance as a major barrier to their ability to increase their output of new homes, more than any other factor. So the next Labour Government will provide government guarantees for banks lending to SME construction firms in a similar way to how the current ‘Help to Buy’ scheme underwrites mortgages.

By itself, the private sector has never produced the number of homes we need. Therefore, we are also exploring how we can get councils, together with housing associations, back into the business of building again. Labour councils are already blazing a trail. When it comes to getting affordable homes built they are outbuilding their Tory counterparts by 2 to 1.

Given the severity of the shortage, we will need some big scale solutions. New Towns and Garden Cities played an important role in delivering housing in the past. The commission will be looking at how new plans for a new generation of New Towns and Garden Cities can be realised in a way that benefits local communities.

By contrast the Tories and Lib Dems can only offer more of the same. Their initiatives to boost house building have consistently failed to deliver. The government recently announced a new Garden City in Ebbsfleet and the building of 15,000 homes, but this is 5,000 fewer homes than those announced for the same place in 2012.

Their biggest initiative, Help to Buy, is, it is true, helping to boost demand but here the Government hasn’t understood basic economics. Boosting demand without boosting supply will simply see prices pushed out of reach of aspiring buyers.

The next Labour government will succeed where this government has failed. Nobody should be in any doubt about our determination to deliver the reforms we need to double house-building, restore the dream of home ownership and to give families the security of a home they can afford.

一个工党执政的政府必将解决住房危机

作者:住房建设影子大臣,国会议员艾玛·雷诺兹(Emma Reynolds

解决住房短缺问题必将成为未来执政的工党政府的首要工作之一。

这是因为对于很多人而言,拥有家庭住房的梦想正与他们渐行渐远。在现任政府的治下,英国的房屋拥有率已经降至1980年代以来的最低水平。这并不令人意外,因为自1920年代至今的和平时期里,本届政府主导的住房建设开工率是最低的。

长期住房短缺的影响已经波及全国。年轻一代和他们的家庭正处在为成为有房一族的挣扎之中。租房群体的房租负担已经突破了历史纪录,租房者平均要付出41%的收入才能保住自己的栖身之所。住房短缺也影响了那些有改善性需求的购房者,他们发现即使以旧房置换新房仍负担不起。而对于那些提出申请福利房的人而言,他们不得不排在已申请的170万个家庭的后面。

正因如此,去年时,埃德·米利班德(Ed Miliband)提出了下届工党政府要在2020年前建造超过二十万套房屋的目标。

尽管目标如此宏大,工党下定决心要为下一代改变拥有住房遥不可及的现状。我们知道解决住房短缺需要多管齐下,这就是为什么埃德•米利班德在提出目标的同时,将起草实现住房建设变革方针的任务委派给麦克尔·莱昂斯(Michael Lyons)爵士主持的住房建设委员会。

工党决心从根源入手解决住房危机。我们需要供应更多的土地用于地产开发。对那些希望扩展却没有土地的地方政府,我们将赋予他们获得土地的权利。与此同时,工党还将坚决地改革土地市场。我们要向地方政府授权,对那些取得建筑许可证但不开工的土地予以征收罚款或强制购买,以此来杜绝囤积土地的现象。

我们还要为更多的企业进入房地产市场提供支持,鼓励小开发商建房和自建房,从而利用尽可能多的机会推动房地产行业的繁荣发展。正因如此,今年早些时候,我和工党影子财政大臣克里斯·莱斯利(Chris Leslie)一起公布了工党制定的旨在帮助中小型建筑商的建房援助政策。2013年英国建筑商联合会关于住房建筑商的调查显示,60%的会员表示在所有因素中融资不足是制约他们增加新房供给的主要障碍。所以,下一届工党政府将比照目前购房援助计划为购房者申请贷款提供担保的方式为中小型建筑企业获得银行贷款提供政府担保。

私营企业仅依靠其自身无法建造出我们所需要数量的房屋。因此,我们也正在研究怎样让地方政府和住房协会重新回归住房建造业。一些工党主政的地方政府已经开始进行尝试了。在建造购房者能够负担的住房方面,工党的效率是保守党的两倍。

鉴于住房短缺的严重程度,我们需要一些覆盖范围较大的解决方案。建设新城镇和新市镇在解决以往的住房供应时发挥了重要的作用。我们的住房建设委员会将会研究造福地方社区的新一代新城镇和新市镇的实施计划。相比之下,保守党和自民党只能老生常谈。他们增加房屋建造的努力总是半途而废。联合政府最近公布了在艾伯弗里特(Ebbsfleet)营造新市镇并建造15,000间房屋的计划,然而相比2012年时公布的关于这一区域的计划,房屋数量减少了5,000间。

政府时下最大的举措’购房援助计划’确实有助于提升住房需求,但是这届政府还没有搞清楚最基本的经济原理.仅仅提振需求而不增加供应只会坐视房价被推高到饥渴的购房者难以负担的地步。

未来执政的工党政府将在现任政府失策的地方取得成功。请坚信我们改革的决心,我们一定会让房屋建造数量翻倍,让人民重拾拥有房屋的梦想,让家家户户能够安居乐业。

By Emma Reynolds MP, Shadow Housing Minister. 

作者:住房建设影子大臣,国会议员艾玛·雷诺兹(Emma Reynolds

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