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Emily Thornberry waves a big stick to bash owners of empty apartments

Labour leadership contender would “take their properties away” particularly overseas investors who purchase properties for capital gain only.

Sheila Manchester

Emily Thornberry

It’s not a new refrain, but it’ll do for the woman who would be leader of the Labour Party, if she can persuade a few more backers to show their cards.

Thornberry, Shadow Foreign Secretary, was speaking at a Labour hustings in Bristol when she told supporters that it was a matter of “inter-generational justice” and that the UK was in danger of “leaving a whole generation behind”, given so many young people could not afford to buy their own home.

“As for all these empty flats, for these people in China who think, ‘Let’s either buy a gold bar or buy a flat in Bristol’ – no,” she exclaimed. “You’re not allowed to buy a flat in Bristol as an investment and keep it empty. If you keep it empty, you lose it.”

The spirit is fair enough but would it solve the UK’s housing problems? Not really, even Ms Thornberry had other suggestions, which included one insightful suggestion that she tweeted: “The answer to the housing crisis is to build more homes! By having a carrot and stick approach we can build more homes and stop land banking. The housing crisis affects everyone and Labour must provide the solutions.”

The MP for Islington South and Finsbury’s next idea was that, “Councils should be allowed to take back land from developers who fail to act on planning permission within five years of gaining approval.”

Sadly, at this point of the race to become Labour Leader, Ms Thornberry is not looking too hopeful, during her visit to Cornwall last Friday (7th February) she likened the battle to beat Sir Kier Starmer and Wigan MP, Lisa Nandy, to lead the Labour party as ‘like It’s A Knockout’. Quite.

Read more about Labour politicians.




February 10, 2020

One comment

  1. The thing about politicians is that they have a limited shelf life, most like to make punchy soundbites, usually when they want to get noticed, and many have not worked in the real world. So when it comes to housing, they have a limited grasp of its workings.

    Half of the globes assets rest in real estate, and that does not mean just housing, yet for many in the UK owning one’s own castle is becoming more of a fantasy than a reality.

    Build more houses, get rid of foreign investors, punish developers who sit on land banks, boo, hiss, the pantomime continues. And housing continues to be a political football, much life health-care or pensions.

    The one thing that is on the horizon though is the thought processes of Generation-Z, who collectively, well look at things in a more collective way. At present governments across Europe may be swinging to the right, but as the ‘youth’ of today have their voice maybe – we are in a for a greener, more caring and more joined up policy on many levels, including real solutions to housing.

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