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Labour’s Starmer commits to 1.5m homes and building on ‘grey belts’

  • 10/10/2023
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Labour’s Starmer commits to 1.5m homes and building on ‘grey belts’
Labour leader Keir Starmer has said the party will build 1.5m new homes and develop on “grey belt” sites to deliver more affordable housing.

Speaking at the Labour party conference in Liverpool today, Starmer said the dream of homeownership had become “out of reach for millions”. 

He added: “And if we don’t take action – it will only become more distant. A luxury for the few not the privilege of the many.” 

Starmer said the party would get “shovels in the ground” in areas where there are “good jobs”, “good infrastructure” and “good land for affordable homes”. He also said new towns would be developed. 

The Labour party does not intend to tear up the green belt, Starmer said. Instead, developments will be made on “grey belt” areas such as disused car parks and “dreary wasteland”. 

Starmer said: “Today we launch a new plan to get Britain building again. A signal of our determination to fight the blockers who hold a veto over British aspiration.  

“No more land-bankers sitting comfortably on brownfield sites while rents in their community rise. No more councils refusing to develop a local plan because they prefer the back-door deals. No more inertia in the face of resistance – and there will be resistance from people who say – no, we don’t want Britain’s future here.” 

He added: “My message to them is this. A future must be built. That is the responsibility of a serious government. And if we continually wash our hands of this task – we all end up stuck in a rut. Just like now.  

“So it’s time to get Britain building again. It’s time to build one and half million new homes across the country. 

“Opportunities for first-time buyers in every community. New development corporations with the power to remove the blockages. New infrastructure to support families and communities to grow. Roads, tunnels, power stations – built quicker and cheaper.” 

“It’s a future with more beautiful cities. More prosperous towns. New parks, new green spaces, new public services – all aligned with our plan,” Starmer said. 


Saving the dream

The Labour party also published a plan on how it would “save the dream of homeownership for younger people”.

The plan includes:

  • A housing recovery plan; a blitz of planning reform to quickly boost housebuilding to buy and rent and deliver the biggest boost to affordable housing in a generation, enhancing local voices on ‘how’ housing is built with communities confident plans will be delivered
  • The next generation of ‘new towns’; new communities with beautiful homes, green spaces, reliable transport links and bustling high streets
  • Unleashing Mayors; a package of devolution to Mayors, with stronger powers over planning and control over housing investment
  • Planning passport’ for urban brownfield development; with a fast track approval and delivery of high-density housing on urban brownfield sites
  • First dibs for first-time buyers; supporting younger people with the first chance at homes in new housing developments with a government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme.


This follows a speech made by Angela Rayner, Shadow Deputy Prime Minister and Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary, yesterday. She said Labour would end the leasehold system and make the Affordable Homes Programme “more flexible”.

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