Starmer unveils Labour manifesto with promise to overhaul planning

Labour Leader Keir Starmer says his government would make a completely new approach to planning a priority if elected.

Keir Starmer announcing Labour Manifesto 2024

Labour Leader Keir Starmer (main picture) has unveiled his party’s manifesto with a promise to overhaul the planning system.

He said the current planning process was delaying developments “for years”, and holding the country back.

Homes target

The party has a target of building 1.5 million homes within five years, and an overhaul of planning will be key to achieving that aim.

Labour earlier revealed that if the party gains power it will launch a replacement to Help to Buy to give approximately 80,000 young people a chance to get onto the property ladder.

Mortgage guarantee

To be called Freedom to Buy it will help families who struggle to save for a large deposit and can’t rely on cash gifts from relatives via a permanent mortgage guarantee scheme.

Other initiatives announced for the housing sector include a ‘first dibs’ to new homes policy for local people; taxing foreign property owners to fund more planning officers; and reforming the compulsory purchase rules to stop ‘speculators’ holding on to properties.

Labour has also promised to scrap Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions on “day one” of a new government.

Read the mainfesto here

Industry reaction
Ben Beadle, CEO, NRLA

Ben Beadle, CEO at the NRLA, says: “All of the main parties are committed to ending section 21. What matters is ensuring the replacement system works, and is fair, to both renters and responsible landlords.

“Given this, we agree with the Shadow Housing Minister who has argued that ‘landlords need robust grounds for possessions in legitimate circumstances, and they need the system to operate quickly when they do,” he says.

“We stand ready to work constructively with a potential Labour Government to achieve this and ensure a smooth transition to the new system. This needs to include giving the sector time to properly prepare for it.”

Tim Bannister, Property Expert, Rightmove

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s Property Expert, says: ‘We welcome policies and innovations which are trying to help more first-time buyers onto the ladder.

“Housebuilding needs to be accelerated, and creating a permanent mortgage guarantee scheme would at least give first-time buyers the certainty that the option will be there,” he says.

“However, we know from our own research that policies like the mortgage guarantee scheme have limitations, and are only able to help a very small pool of future first time buyers that fit specific requirements.”

Nathan Emerson, CEO, Propertymark

Nathan Emerson, CEO at Propertymark, says: “Pledges to reform the planning system, commit to a brownfield-first approach, making the private rental sector more energy efficient, and a commitment to build 1.5 million new homes over the next parliamentary term are more than welcome.

“The planning process can be a huge obstacle in keeping pace with demand and change is desperately needed in order to serve an ever-growing population,” he says.

“Any aspiration to reintroduce the Renters (Reform) Bill must come with full disclosure and a realistic timeline regarding the required court reform before the removal of Section 21 evictions should ever become a reality.”

Link to Stamp Duty feature
Anthony Codling, MD of Equity Research, RBC Capital Markets

Anthony Codling, MD of Equity Research at RBC Capital Markets, says: “The Labour Party is serious about increasing the supply of homes and its rhetoric is backed up in the manifesto it published today.

“The reinstatement of housing targets, a renewed focus on local plans, investment in the planning system and a return to the presumption in favour of sustainable development should lead to more land coming through the planning system and empower the housebuilders to build the homes we desperately need.”

Neil Cobbold at Payprop image
Neil Cobbold, Commercial Director, Reapit and PayProp UK

Neil Cobbold, Commercial Director at Reapit and PayProp, says: “It’s encouraging to see Labour focus on the undersupply of properties, which is at least partly responsible for the high cost of buying and renting.

“Building 1.5 million new homes for sale and social rent, reforming planning laws, and appointing 300 additional planning officers will help, but construction on this scale will also take time to deliver,” he says.

“Any proposed mortgage guarantee scheme, including those in the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat manifestos, needs to be carefully reviewed to ensure it does not inflate house prices, pushing them further out of reach of the people it is designed to help.”


  1. On the ITV debate last night Deputy leader of Labour Angela Rayner (Her of the alleged non payment of tax 2nd home selling) intimated that capital gains tax might be introduced on the sale of your home.

    This is a HUGE revelation and will have a profound affect on the UK property market. This needs URGENT explanation and clarity.

  2. Given there is a shortage of 400 (not a typo) local Planning officers in the UK. Labour can talk all day about building 300,000 new homes a year, but given that it takes 2.5 years from planning to sale of a property asset at best they are going to hit marginally more houses being built in next three years than now. Factor in fixed mortgage lending rates are likely to be 5% + for the next 18 months, who exactly can afford to buy these skyhigh valued new homes. Obviously the provision of social housing is part of this new build figure, but again I do weep at the idea of a huge building plan for social housing and subsidised rents for the poorer people being paid by the taxpayer, where others are paying huge private rents. I am the first to think it is everyone’s absolute right to have 4 walls and a roof over their head, but the idea of a poor taxpayer’s tax subsidising an even poorer tax payer to live in a home and paying less passing rent, is in itself a poor policy. No easy answers but maybe look at Rishi Rich’s 20% tax on £2m of dividends, if the rich actually paid tax at a fairer rate maybe the Tories would stop banging on about squeezing more savings from the poorest and disenfranchised section of society. Maybe a start to end all of this mess would be a permanent Housing secretary – non-partisan with a fixed 10 year plan supported acros sthe House, instead of the usual revolving doors of Secretaries and Housing ministers.

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