Labour launches first major review into home ownership for a decade

The Labour party have launched what they say will be the first major review into home ownership for a decade.

The independent review, chaired by Taylor Wimpey CEO Pete Redfern and a panel of expert advisers, made up of former Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Dame Kate Barker; Andy Gray, former Managing Director of Mortgages at Barclays; Ian Mulheirn, Director of Consulting at Oxford Economics and former Director of the Social Market Foundation and Terrie Alafat CBE, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, and former Director of Housing at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Pete Redfern set out five major themes that his review will study: the constraints on first time buyers, the effectiveness of transitions in home tenure, homeownership later in life, housing supply, and short, medium and long term impact of current policies.

Mr Redfern said: “It’s not to knock party policy but to question and challenge, and to say ‘this is working really well’, or ‘this isn’t working well but may do in the future’. It’s pointless having the review if you’re not willing to challenge policy.

“I have an ambition for a healthy and sustainable housing market that will give current and future generations the opportunity to own their own home. The continued structural decline in home ownership presents a long-term social and economic challenge and necessitates a considered review. This is not about party politics, it affects us all.

“We are not trying to set a number [for homeownership] that we say is right, and it’s not a one-way street, but it’s falling consistently and that’s not a healthy thing. One thing we’re clear on is we’re not promoting homeownership at the expense of other tenures.”

Maud Rousseau, Group Marketing and Communications Director of SearchFlow, said: “Despite it being over a decade ago, a lot of issues that were highlighted within the Barker report still remain at large. The Government has repeatedly pledged to tackle the housing supply issue, the lack of first time buyers and planning issues.

“The Government has budgeted £2 billion to the housing budget to deliver 400,000 affordable homes by 2020 and announced further reforms to the planning system to deliver more homes more quickly; such as amending planning policy to ensure the release of unused and previously undeveloped commercial, retail and industrial land for Starter Homes. They also plan to support regeneration of previously developed, brownfield sites in the greenbelt, by allowing them to be developed in the same way as brownfield sites elsewhere, providing it delivers Starter Homes, to help bring to fruition the Government’s intended 200,000 Starter Homes.

“The Government’s rhetoric claims that progress has been made but an independent review questioning and challenging policies must help ensure that everything that can be done, to resolve this growing crisis, is in place.”

Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning, John Healey MP said: “Increasing home-ownership is Labour’s housing priority.

“A million more households became home-owners under Labour, but home-ownership is now in free-fall.

“Young people aspiring to own a home have been the hardest hit. What used to be a natural part of growing up is becoming a luxury for those on the highest salaries, or whose parents have the deepest pockets. It would be Labour’s first priority in government to change that.

“The Redfern Review will take a hard look at the causes of the recent decline in home-ownership, to help bring fresh ideas to the wider public debate on how we can get to grips with this problem.”

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