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Rayner reveals Labour’s New Towns plan, including schools, housing and hospitals

Labour will promise to build schools and hospitals alongside new homes in a “next generation of new towns” designed to ease the housing crisis.

Angela Rayner will use a speech on Tuesday to urge housing developers to start drawing up plans for new communities, likely to be built near existing transport links and funded with private investment.

The Deputy Leader of the Opposition is expected to say that the model of top-down development which led to the original new towns will be replaced by a partnership with business.

Labour has put a promise to accelerate house building at the heart of its election pitch on the economy – although the Conservatives claim the party oversaw a slump in building when it was last in office.

i revealed in January that the much anticipated plan will focus heavily on expanding existing towns, rather than building new ones from scratch.

A senior Labour source said then: “We don’t have any locations yet. Land prices would go through the roof if we started to identify sites now – we don’t have a list of five or 10 places. Angela [Rayner] will on day one of a Labour government set up a taskforce that will report back within six months as to where opportunities lie.”

The policy will be “place dependent” and could see developments of 10,000 to 15,000 homes, rather than full-blown new towns, they added.

The plans are part of Labour’s ambitious promise to build 1.4 million homes by the end of the next parliament.

Previously Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has suggested as many as four new towns could be built. After announcing the policy at the Labour conference in 2023 when asked how many town Labour would build by ITV he replied: “Certainly more than two – three or four – but we will go through a bidding process to ensure that we get the right towns in the right places but with the right infrastructure supporting them as well.”

Speaking at a property industry conference in Leeds, Ms Rayner will say that a Labour government would encourage the building of entirely new towns as well as expanding existing settlements.

One of the five key criteria applied to every new town will be a guarantee that each one will have enough schools, GPs’ surgeries and transport links for the community, rather than risk ending up as isolated housing estates.

On Tuesday Ms Rayner is set to say: “Developers who deliver on their obligations to build high quality, well designed and sustainable affordable housing, with green spaces and transport links and schools and GPs surgeries nearby, will experience a new dawn under Labour. But those who have wriggled out of their responsibilities for too long will be robustly held to account.

“Labour’s towns of the future will be built on the foundations of our past. The post-war period taught us that when the government plays a strategic role in housebuilding, we can turbo-charge growth to the benefit of working people across Britain. That is what Labour’s plans will achieve.”

The four other criteria are a target of 40 per cent affordable housing, “robust design codes” so that new towns are in keeping with their surroundings, high-density layouts to enable public transport, and ample green space.

The party claims that its plans can be delivered without additional government borrowing, with banks and other investors set to finance new building and state-backed institutions such as the UK Infrastructure Bank contributing.

Labour has pledged to reform planning so that it is harder for local authorities to block developments, with a view to increasing the overall housing supply.

Conservative Party chairman Richard Holden said in response: “It’s remarkable that Angela Rayner would want to talk about housing whilst there is an active police investigation related to her own housing situation.

“Not to mention that Labour tried to enact this policy last time they were in office and completely failed – failing to build even one new town and overseeing the lowest level of housebuilding in peacetime since the 20s.

“Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives will stick to the plan, which is working, delivering one million homes by the end of this Parliament, with 250,000 more affordable homes delivered through the Affordable Homes Programme.”

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