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What can we expect from a Labour government?


Labour government UK election
The UK's new Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer.

Labour has quickly laid out its economic agenda – including a major focus on housebuilding – after winning power in last week’s UK general election.

 

The new Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer, announced the main decision makers in relation to housing policy over the weekend:

 

  • Rachel Reeves, Chancellor

  • Angela Rayner, Deputy Prime Minister and Housing Secretary

  • Matthew Pennycook, Housing Minister

  • Jim McMahon, Junior Housing Minister

 

On Monday, Reeves announced the government would reintroduce compulsory housebuilding targets in order to develop 1.5 million new homes over the next five years. The Chancellor also announced a review of green belt boundaries to prioritise brownfield and grey belt land in the quest to meet those targets.

 

Here’s a quick rundown of what these terms mean:

 

  • Greenfield: Land that has not been developed previously.

  • Brownfield: Previously developed land such as an old industrial site, ready to be developed.

  • Grey belt: Previously developed or low-quality land that has been neglected – such as disused car parks or areas of wasteland.

  • Green belt: A buffer zone of open land between towns, and between towns and the countryside, where building is restricted. Designed to prevent urban sprawl.

 

With growing the economy central to Labour’s plans, the message since winning power has been to build, build, build. In terms of specifics, Rayner previously indicated a commitment to new social and affordable housing, and pledged in May to announce a series of new towns within the first year of government and launch a task force to identify the right sites.

 

Pennycook, meanwhile, said tackling the housing crisis and boosting economic growth were integral to national renewal. During an interview during the election campaign, he spoke about helping first-time buyers and said Labour would revisit leasehold reform and end ‘no fault’ evictions in the private rented sector.

 

There has – so far – been no discussion about short-term rentals. Conservative plans to abolish the furnished holiday lettings tax regime did not make it through parliament prior to the election. With a budget set to take place in the autumn, we shall wait and see whether Labour plans to revisit this scheme or take a different approach to holiday lets in the UK.

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