Councillor Johnson and Daniel Zeichner at the Ironworks housing site
Councillor Johnson and Daniel Zeichner at the Ironworks housing site

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Cambridge Daniel Zeichner has warmly welcomed proposals outlined in the party’s recently published manifesto to build 100,000 council homes a year by the end of the next Parliament – a 3,500% increase on current levels.

The manifesto also pledges to build 50,000 additional genuinely affordable homes a year through Housing Associations by 2024.

Labour promises that all new council homes will be built to high sustainable standards, in keeping with its commitment to set a path towards the UK being zero-carbon by the 2030s. The cost of delivering this programme – £75 billion over five years – will be met through the party’s proposed Social Transformation Fund.

Official figures show that last year the number of Government-funded affordable homes for social rent built fell by 90%, to fewer than 1,000, while fewer than 3,000 council homes were built.  Labour also proposes to revise the definition of ‘affordable’ housing to ensure rent levels are better linked to local incomes – benefitting people who live in expensive places like Cambridge.

Talking about his party’s proposals, Mr. Zeichner praised the clear commitment to build more council housing;

“With levels of inequality at an all-time high, it’s essential that people have access to high-quality affordable housing.  A UK Labour government will deliver this.

“It’ll be particularly important here in Cambridge, where we know that residents are finding it increasingly hard to meet their living costs. I’m delighted to see that the Labour run City Council is already tackling the affordable housing crisis, delivering over 500 new low-carbon council homes by 2022, with a further 1,000 planned over the next decade.

“It’s a great start, and with the support of a new Labour government, we can improve the situation even further.”

Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing, added:

“We are ahead of the curve here in Cambridge in terms of council house building, but this announcement gives us the opportunity to do even more. While I am proud the Labour City Council is doing what it can to tackle Cambridge’s housing crisis, we know this will not be enough on its own because of cruel austerity measures and the lack of credible investment in social housing over the course of the last nine years due to Conservative and Liberal Democrat cuts.

“A radical Labour government will work with local authorities and housing associations, rather than against them, allowing councils like ours to be even more ambitious in ensuring every person can have access to affordable, decent and sustainable homes to live in. That’s real change.”

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