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Labour to establish new Ministry of Housing

Labour to establish new Ministry of Housing

The Labour Party has promised to establish a new Ministry of Housing if it wins the general election.

It has confirmed the plan in the formal launch of its manifesto, a draft of which was leaked last week. The new ministry would oversee issues such as construction standards, the size of homes - with a pledge to abolish "rabbit hutch" properties - and build
 more zero carbon housing. The new department will also be tasked with ensuring the overall numbers of new homes built increases and that affordability improves.

The party had already promised to build a million homes over the course of the parliament, with the number of council and housing association properties rising to 100,000 a year by the end of the five-year term.

It has also promised to prioritise brownfield over greenfield? land? when it comes to finding places to build, and will construct a "new generation" of new towns, a policy that may or may not be significantly different from the current government's plans to build new 'garden towns'. Labour said this will be done to "prevent urban sprawl".

The housing commitments are just part of the increased workload the construction industry could get from an incoming Labour government.

It has also confirmed pledges to extend HS2 to Scotland and renationalise rail, while the party has now made a commitment to proceeding with Crossrail 2. This is a move that will please the London Chamber of Commerce, which issued its own manifesto last week saying London's future as a "megacity" needs Crossrail 2 and urged the main parties to commit themselves to it.

The Labour manifesto also promised a new branch line in the south of England to Brighton and to "complete the Science Vale transport arc" between Oxford and Cambridge via Milton Keynes.

Other commitments include support for new nuclear power plants, which implies the projects at Hinkley and Wylfa will definitely go ahead.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will publish their own manifestos in the coming days.

Image: iStock


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