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Labour slams Tories on house prices

House prices are likely to rocket to 13 times the average wage by 2020 under a Conservative government, Labour will claim today.

The cost of an average home will reach £359,000 based on current trends, which would require a £72,000 deposit, according to the shadow housing minister.

Emma Reynolds will also claim the housing gap is on track to reach the equivalent of three cities the size of Birmingham, with 1.3 million homes needed to meet demand.

In a speech in Nottingham, she will say: “While the Tories say the housing market is back on track, the truth is they’ve presided over the lowest level of house building since the 1920s.

“We’re not even building half the homes we need to keep up with demand.

“The Government talk up the Help to Buy scheme but it’s clear they simply haven’t understood that boosting demand without boosting supply will simply see prices pushed out of reach of families and young people.

“This is the crucial difference between Labour and the Tories.

“The Tories claim to be the party of home ownership. But on their watch home ownership has fallen to its lowest point since 1987.

“The Tories pay lip service to aspiration and home ownership but they’re not willing to take the action necessary to deliver the homes we need to meet these aspirations.

“The only way to ensure more people can buy their own home is to build many more homes. That is the litmus test of aspiration today.”

Ms Reynolds will claim that Labour councils are planning to build more homes than Conservative or Liberal Democrat councils. According to the party’s analysis, Labour authorities are committed to building 862 homes a year, compared with 508 by Tory councils and 393 by Lib Dems.

She will point to Labour’s plans to build at least 200,000 new homes a year, put an end to land-banking and reform the housebuilding industry to make it more competitive.

Ms Reynolds will also underline proposals to reform private renting by giving tenants more security.

“We’ll help those who can get on the housing ladder, but that doesn’t mean those who can’t should have to put up with insecure, expensive and sub-standard accommodation in the private rented sector,” she will say.

“I am as passionate about securing a better deal for renters as I am about delivering a step-change in the number of new homes.

“A Labour government will ban letting agent fees on tenants.

“Legislate to make three-year tenancies, not short-term tenancies, the norm for those who rent their homes in the private sector.

“And we’ll act on unpredictable rent rises too by putting a ceiling on excessive rent rises during the period of these new longer-term tenancies.

“A more stable, long-term market will be good for landlords and good for tenants too.

“Generation rent has been ignored for too long – but it won’t be under the next Labour government.”

Brandon Lewis, Minister for Housing and Planning, said: “This speech from Labour just isn’t credible. Here’s one fact they won’t tell you – under the last government Britain was building fewer homes than at any time since the 1920s. Labour’s record on housing was truly appalling.

“By contrast, housebuilding is now at its highest for a number of years and we have already delivered over 445,000 new homes, including 200,000 affordable homes. All the while Help to Buy is helping thousands of families to buy their own home. This is part of our long-term economic plan that is making sure hard working taxpayers can find a good quality, affordable home where they can enjoy security and a better quality of life.

“There is still more to do, but the real threat to this recovering housing market would be a Labour Government. Labour would cut housebuilding through taxes and red tape – and it’s hard working taxpayers who would pay the price for this failure.”

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