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Sunday, 5 June 2016

Labour say there could be 160,000 extra homes by 2020 if UK remains within the EU

The Labour party is today providing, what they call, a "positive alternative to a Tory Brexit" by setting out their plans to use the European Union to double the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) commitment to funding social housing provision (currently 20,000 homes) in order to bring the UK’s per capita share of funding in line with the EU average.

Labour claim that if the United Kingdom moved to the European Union average of per capita EIB investment then it would increase funding from £5.6 billion last year to £8 billion. 

Labour say they would learn from best practice from devolved administrations across the UK on how to improve the quantity and quality of proposals sent to the EIB. This could mean a possible annual £2.4 billion increase in funding (almost £10 billion by 2020) available for UK businesses, which could then be used to help tackle issues like the UK’s housing crisis.

For example, if applied next year it could fund 40,000 homes a year, which over the next four years to 2020 could mean 160,000 new affordable homes. And a potential of an additional 65,000 jobs each year.

Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, said: "Labour wants to remain and reform Europe so that we can better use the levers of power inside the EU to ensure our country punches its weight in the world and better delivers for all working people. The opportunities to build a better world will be with a Labour vote to remain in the EU, not a Tory Brexit. Labour wants to build a better Europe and that can start by using the EU to increase investment that could be used to build more homes here, and help tackle the Tory housing crisis."

Attacking the Chancellor, George Osborne, John McDonnell said: "With George Osborne clinging to his failed austerity policies, and cutting investment despite the overwhelming consensus from businesses, trade unions, and economists to support boosting it, there is an urgent need to deliver the investment spending we need for 21st century infrastructure like high speed rail and high speed broadband, as well as solving the housing crisis."

Turning his fire onto the Conservative government, Mr McDonnell said: "The Tories are failing to take the opportunities that the European Investment Bank provides, leaving Britain with a lower than average investment from this shared institution. With the EU now committed to expanding investment across Europe through the £250 billion Juncker Plan, we need a government that will step up to the mark and deliver for working people here. The money’s there but the Tories aren’t making the most of it."

"If they weren’t consumed with bickering over a Tory Brexit, then the Tories could raise their game and help make sure that increased investment helps put in place the foundations for a secure economy, not the recovery built on sand that George Osborne has created. Increasing EIB investment in the UK to the EU average would mean an extra £2.4 billion a year, which could help build 160,000 new homes to address the housing crisis and creating a potential 65,000 jobs every year. Labour won’t stand by and allow Britain’s potential in Europe go to waste under a Tory Brexit." John McDonnell added.