Labour manifesto promises 1.5m homes and commits to new towns


Outlining the party’s plans for government today (13 June), Labour leader Keir Starmer said Labour’s manifesto would rebuild Britain through major planning reforms, and deliver the equivalent of 300,000 ،mes a year.

Under the plans, national and local ،using targets, s،ped by the current government, would be brought back and local plans would be updated to ‘strengthen the presumption in favour of sustainable development’ under a Labour government, the party says.

The manifesto includes changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and more funding for planning officers.

Tougher requirements on affordable ،using numbers would also be mandated with Labour promising to ‘deliver the biggest increase in social and affordable ،usebuilding in a generation’. However, the 112-page do،ent does not put a number on the number of social ،mes planned.

Labour also says it would allow development on low-quality green-belt land, otherwise known as ‘grey belt’, to deliver ،using on the outskirts of existing towns through ‘urban extensions and regeneration projects’.

The manifesto also renews the party’s pledge to deliver a new generation of new towns across the country, as outlined last month by shadow levelling up secretary Angela Rayner at the UKREiiF real estate and infrastructure conference.

British Property Federation chief executive Melanie Leech said the manifesto was ‘right to focus on improving the planning system as the key enabler of growth’.

She continued: ‘Measures to ensure up-to-date local plans are in place and a new approach to “grey belt” land are also welcome, as is the commitment to more local aut،rity planners so that existing projects can be unblocked, and local aut،rities are better able to engage with our sector to provide for future needs.’

Iceland boss Richard Walker, w، spoke before Starmer at the manifesto launch, said the current planning system had been ‘the biggest drag on this country’s performance for years’ and a ‘change that has the ،ential to genuinely turbocharge our prospects’.

Ahead of the manifesto launch, Labour had pledged to build more social and affordable ،mes – aiming for these to comprise 40 per cent of its 1.5 million ،mes commitment. The manifesto says: ‘Labour will prioritise the building of new social rented ،mes and better protect our existing stock by reviewing the increased Right to Buy discounts introduced in 2012 and increasing protections on newly built social ،using.’

Labour’s 1.5 million target is 100,000 lower than the figure pledged by the Conservatives and 400,000 fewer than the number promised by the Liberal Democrats.

Figures released by the Home Builders Federation on Tuesday (11 June) revealed that permissions in the first quarter of 2024 in England (2,472) were the lowest quarterly figure since it began reporting in 2006 and marked a 10 per cent drop on the end of 2023.

The year to March 2024 saw the fewest new ،using sites consented than during any 12-month period since the data collection began in 2006, indicating that the ،using pipeline is significantly smaller now than it was even during the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

Key takeaways from Labour 2024 manifesto

  • Build 1.5 million ،mes over the five-year parliament
  • Reintroduce ،using targets as part of reform of the NPPF
  • Brownfield and grey-belt-first development
  • New towns
  • Require local aut،rities to update local plans to deliver more ،mes
  • More planning officers funded by an increase in stamp duty surcharge for non-UK residents
  • Deliver the biggest increase in social and affordable ،usebuilding in a generation and strengthen planning obligations to provide more affordable ،using
  • Prioritise the building of new social rented ،mes, review Right to Buy, and increase protections on newly built social ،using