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Labour unveils new measures to boost housebuilding

New homes corporations would be introduced under a Labour government to help tackle the country's housing crisis.Labour leader Ed Miliband has included the measure as part of his strategy to guarantee the construction of the 200,000 homes a year required by families and ease the pressure on small firms.The new homes corporations, which could accelerate the delivery of 500,000 residential properties, would build on the approach adopted for the London 2012 Olympics, with the identification of a site and the delivery of a project on time and on budget.They would be established by local authorities at devolved city and county region level and, working with housing associations and private sector partners, would have the power to commission a wide range of developers - including small and medium-sized enterprises - to undertake rapid construction projects.Establishing these corporations would help to overcome several constraints that are preventing new homes from being built.By taking responsibility for development and establishing a clear timetable, they would provide landowners with certainty and remove the incentive for them to hold on to land.New homes corporations would enable large sites to be developed across the boundaries of local authorities, implementing the infrastructure necessary for these to be successful.Finally, they would boost levels of competition within the housing market by looking for new private investment partners, rather than relying on large firms. According to the Labour Party, over-reliance on larger entities is hampering construction.Sir Michael Lyons, chair of the Lyons’ Housing Commission, said: "We need to mobilise across the nation to build the homes our children need. More land released, a wider range of builders and a bigger role for local authorities working with their partners are all important."Our report will offer a comprehensive view of how these measures and others can help us get to 200,000 homes a year and beyond."However, Mr Miliband's proposals were greeted with scepticism by the Conservative Party, with a spokesman pointing out that the last Labour government allowed housebuilding to drop to the lowest level since 1920. 

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