Labor will take more action on housing in its first six months in office than the Conservatives have done in the last six years, Angela Rayner has promised.
Downing Street has confirmed that the Tenant Reform Bill will feature in the King’s Speech, allowing it to proceed through Parliament when the next session opens on Tuesday.
But Labor says changes to the housing sector promised by the government, including overhauling the rental system and abolishing “no-fault” evictions for tenants under Section 21 – a commitment which was included in the 2019 Conservative manifesto – were subsequently watered down.
Michael Gove, the housing secretary, wrote to Tory backbenchers last month to tell them that the ban on “no-fault” evictions promised under the bill will not be passed until a series of improvements are made to the legal system.
Ministers have confirmed that leasehold reforms will feature in the King’s Speech, with plans set to include a ban on new leasehold homes so that all new homes will be freehold from the outset, barring exceptional circumstances.
The government also intends to introduce a reformed shared ownership system as an alternative to leasehold ownership for apartments, Gove’s department said. The plans are badly delayed and appear to have been watered down compared to what was once intended to be a sweeping overhaul of the rental system that Gove previously described as “feudal”.
Labor officials said the Tories first pledged to protect landlords from “feudal” rental practices in December 2017. They calculated that the Tories had issued 115 press releases and new announcements on the reforms of the lease since that date.
Rayner, the party’s deputy leader and also shadow housing secretary, said: “Labour will deliver more action on housing in six months than this crumbling Tory government has managed in six years.
“After years of written promises on housing, this King’s speech will completely neglect housing construction and renege on promises made years ago.
“Now is not the time to wait. Labor’s plan would see Britain rebuild with a housing recovery plan, creating a generation of new towns and unleashing economic growth across Britain.
“We will not dodge the tough questions like the Conservatives did. We would abolish no-fault evictions and fix the broken tenancy system once and for all.
In response, Housing Minister Rachel Maclean said her Labor peers helped defeat an attempt by ministers in September to repeal EU-era rules that force developers to mitigate the impact of new homes on the health of rivers. She said: “We will learn no lessons from the hypocritical Labor Party who, only a few weeks ago, voted to block 100,000 new homes. »
Meanwhile, Labor is reportedly considering a “robot tax” on businesses that replace their staff with artificial intelligence to discourage businesses from laying off employees.
The idea was suggested by Alex Davies-Jones, the shadow minister for technology and the digital economy, at a side event at last month’s Labor conference in Manchester.
A party spokesperson told the Daily Telegraph: “Ideas which are not part of Labor Party policy are discussed at fringe events at the Labor Party conference.
“Labor has no plans to tax companies that use AI. Our policy is to harness the potential of AI to provide better public services and drive economic growth.