The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has vowed to buy 8,000 homes and create new powers for councils to take over “deliberately” empty luxury flats to crackdown on rough sleeping.
Mr Corbyn said the country needed “social priorities”’ that placed homeless people above the right for foreign investors to buy and sell property off plan. He insisted that if Labour formed the next government, it would intervene on the housing market in a “number of ways” to help social tenants, private renters and first time buyers. Figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government last week revealed 4,751 people were sleeping rough in 2017 — the highest figure in eight years.
Labour said if it wins power, it would also seek to buy up housing association properties when they become vacant and hand them to homeless people instead of making them available again as affordable homes. The housing association properties would then be replaced in a wider house building programme. Labour’s manifesto claimed it will build 100,000 ‘genuinely affordable’ for renting and buying each year. The idea of letting councils reclaim empty flats is part of a wider housing policy