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Posted on February 8th 2016 by admin-movingin

Labour sets out its political stall as the party of home ownership

Original Author: Rosalind Renshaw

The Labour party has set up a new review of the housing market, headed by Taylor Wimpey chief executive Peter Redfern.

The Redfern Review was actually announced at last autumn’s Labour party conference, but its PR activity appears to have been – as they say – refreshed and the review was apparently “launched” a few days ago.

The new review follows a number of others commissioned by Labour, including those led by Kate Barker, who will sit on the latest initiative, John Callcutt and Sir Michael Lyons.

As a result of the Barker Review, a National Housing and Planning Advice Unit was set up – and scrapped a few years later as part of the coalition government’s ‘bonfire of the quangos’.

The Callcutt Review called for much more brownfield land to be used by builders in order to increase production of new homes.

Unfortunately, this worthy recommendation was followed by the collapse of the housing market, which saw new home building fall to historically low levels

The Lyons Review, published less than 18 months ago, said at least 243,000 new homes needed to be built each year, and recommended the Government set new targets, beef up powers of compulsory purchase, and build a new generation of garden cities.

Unfortunately for Labour it lost the 2015 general election, which marked the end of that particular review, but undeterred, the party now has the comfort of its Redfern review.

It will specifically look into the decline of home ownership.

The review has been commissioned by shadow housing minister John Healey, one of Labour’s many housing ministers when it was last in power.

Indeed, there were nine housing ministers in 13 years, with an average tenure of under 18 months apiece, not to mention a penchant for housing market reviews.

Healey himself lasted from June 2009 to May 2010, when Home Information Packs were the order of the day.

Today Healey does not mention HIPs, but writing in the Spectator, says: “Just as home ownership is the first preference for most of the country, so I want home ownership to be Labour’s first housing priority.

“History tells us that market failures this big don’t get fixed by Conservative governments.

“That’s a policy and political opportunity that Labour must seize.”