Revitalise housing through Compulsory Purchase

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Labour Pat Osborne
Labour Pat Osborne

Labour’s plans to “back the builders, not the blockers” took further shape this week with the announcement that the next Labour government would allow local authorities, including Dorset Council, to buy land at a lower price through Compulsory Purchase Orders, where justified and in the public interest. The idea is a simple one; because land without planning permission is worth more than land with planning permission (land with the “hope factor”), councils would be able to buy up land at a lower rate.
As one of the most expensive places in Britain to rent or buy a home, local Dorset people struggle to afford to live in the area, even as housing costs continue to rise. The new policy would not only open the door to councils providing good quality local authority homes for rent at affordable prices, but also have a deflationary impact on a bloated housing market that increasingly prevents first time buyers from buying their first home.
The new policy is good news – not only for the 30 per cent of us who simply want reasonable rents in good quality homes with secure tenancies; or for those who aspire to own their homes and enjoy decreasing housing costs as their mortgage is paid back over the years – but for all of us who benefit from the stable, sustainable and vibrant communities that affordable housing helps to deliver.
However, it will need a creative and aspirational Labour council as well as a creative and aspirational Labour government to really deliver the benefits to people here in Dorset.
So, as the preparation starts for both the local elections in Dorset next year and a General Election nationally, it’s time to start reflecting on how well-served we currently are by the stale, Tory-led council that has delivered increased Council Tax while winding down our local services and failing to deliver on housing, and an exhausted shambles of a Tory government that is fresh out of ideas despite appointing 15 Housing Ministers in 13 years.
Pat Osborne, North Dorset Labour Party

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