Senior Labour MP Clive Betts says the party’s official house building policy won’t actually solve the shortage of homes.
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner, who is also responsible for housing policy, recently set out her views on new builds, insisting that a Labour government would require private developers to build more affordable housing as a price of planning consent.
However Betts - who chairs the all party Levelling Up, Housing and Communities committee of MPs - tells The Guardian that this won’t be sufficient.
His committee estimates that 90,000 new social homes need to be built each year and relying on developer contributions would not deliver that.
Betts says in the newspaper that a multi-billion pound increase in state subsidies for social housing was needed instead.
“As one witness very simply said to us, you can’t have subsidised housing without subsidies” he says. “That’s going to be a challenge for any new government.”
Betts also controversially calls for new powers to confiscate private rental properties from serial offender landlords.
This would be a “significant deterrent” to landlords who treated fines for letting out squalid, unsafe and overcrowded homes as simply a cost of doing business.
Councils would then take over the properties and allocate then to social housing waiting list tenants, he says.
The threat of seizure would “bring landlords up fairly sharply, because some of those properties are worth quite a lot of money”, he tells the paper.
He also forecast that the ban on Section 21 eviction powers would probably have to wait until after the next General Election and he claims that many tenants are “simply too frightened to report disrepair” for fear of eviction.