IT WAS the issue of housing that got me involved in Labour politics and I still believe it to be a major challenge for any political party. We must increase the supply of affordable housing both for rent and to buy. Locally we have available land in both public and private ownership so, if the will is there, solutions can be found.
Labour believes local authorities should be able to play their part in providing social housing in the future, money has been made available for this but we are still waiting for our Conservative controlled council to bid for any of this Government money.
Labour is committed to a series of practical steps to help local people get on the housing ladder:
We will exempt purchases below £250,000 from stamp duty for the next two years. This will be paid for by increasing stamp duty to five per cent for homes worth more than £1m.
Our Home Buy Direct scheme will continue and I am pleased to see this working well locally in the new estate at Rossfield Park.
We will work with housing associations to develop a new form of affordable housing targeted at working families on modest incomes.
We are investing £7.5bn to build new houses, delivering 110,000 additional affordable homes.