Coronavirus - we're here to help
From how to access your account online, scam awareness, your wellbeing and our community we're here to help.

Skip to main content
  • Register
  • Help
  • Contact us
  • Log in to HL Account

Labour to reverse Thatcher's legacy as it pledges £75billion for new council homes

Labour is expected to set out details plans to reduce voting thresholds for strike action as well as introducing electronic and workplace ballots.

Article originally published by The Telegraph. Hargreaves Lansdown is not responsible for its content or accuracy and may not share the author's views. News and research are not personal recommendations to deal. All investments can fall in value so you could get back less than you invest.

Labour will promise to sweep aside anti-strike laws and reverse Margaret Thatcher's flagship right to buy policy as Jeremy Corbyn launches the party's manifesto.

The Telegraph understands that a “major” focus of Labour’s prospectus for government due to be announced on Thursday will be employment rights and repealing Conservative laws.

Having vowed to repeal the Trade Union Act within 100 days of taking power, Labour is expected to set out details plans to reduce voting thresholds for strike action as well as introducing electronic and workplace ballots.

The manifesto is also expected to include proposals for a major expansion of collective bargaining, the practice of negotiating minimum workers’ rights and pay for whole industries.

Separately, Labour has promised to deliver a “housing revolution” by building up to 150,000 council and social homes a year by 2024.

The plans, which will be funded by £75bn of borrowing over five years, would represent the biggest uplift in social housing stock since 1967.

A senior Labour insider confirmed that the party would also end the “right to buy” for council housing tenants, in a reversal of the sell-off started by Baroness Thatcher and revived by David Cameron.

“We’ve got to halt it, otherwise it’s going to be like filling a bucket with a hole in it,” they added. “That’s part of the proposition.”

Right to buy is one of the most totemic policies of the Thatcher Government in the 1980s. The Housing Act was passed by her Government in 1980, enabling tenants to buy their homes at a large discount.

While the reforms enriched hundreds of thousands of people-two million bought back their homes-councils were prevented from reinvesting most of the proceeds of council house sales in new homes.

After 1990, most local authorities were only allowed to spend 25 per cent of such receipts on building houses.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick pointed out that more social and council homes had been built under the Conservatives since 2010 than under the last Labour government.

"Under the Conservatives we've delivered 450,000 new affordable homes, increased housing supply to its highest level for almost 30 years and increased house-building by 93% in the last six years," he said.

Speaking in Birmingham, Mr Corbyn will unveil what he describes as the “most radical and ambitious plan to transform our country in decades”.

He will renew his attacks on billionaires, stating that their opposition to Labour’s plans by the “most powerful people in Britain” stems from a fear “of real change” in favour of ordinary workers.

"If the bankers, billionaires and the establishment thought we represented politics as usual, that we could be bought off, that nothing was really going to change, they wouldn’t attack us so ferociously,” Mr Corbyn will add.

“They know we will go after the tax dodgers, the bad bosses and the big polluters so that everybody in our country gets a fair chance in life.

“That’s why they throw everything they’ve got at us. Because they’re scared of real change. Because they aren’t on your side.”

A Labour source claimed that the manifesto would “major” on employment and union rights, with Labour repealing the anti-trade union legislation introduced by Mr Cameron in 2016.

To make it easier for workers to strike, the party is expected to lower the thresholds for industrial ballots, which currently require a 50 percent turnout.

In key public sector services, such as health, education and transport, 40 percent of eligible workers must also vote in favour.

“It will go beyond what Cameron did,” the source said, adding: “Greater rights for individual employees, reducing the requirement on ballots for strikes and increasing the circumstances in which an employer has to recognise a union for the purposes of collective bargaining.”

Labour has already promised to establish a powerful new employment regulator, increase the minimum wage to £10 and ban zero hours contracts and unpaid internships.

According to senior Labour sources, Laura Pidcock, the shadow employment secretary, who is charged with overseeing the creation of a new Ministry of Employment Rights under, has been handed a “central role” in the launch.

Ms Pidcock, 32, is considered an “ultra-loyalist” and her elevation today will be seen as further evidence that Mr Corbyn is positioning her to replace Labour’s outgoing deputy leader Tom Watson.


This article was written by Political Correspondent and Harry Yorke from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Article originally published by The Telegraph. Hargreaves Lansdown is not responsible for its content or accuracy and may not share the author's views. News and research are not personal recommendations to deal. All investments can fall in value so you could get back less than you invest.

Free news email alerts

  • Daily and weekly news
  • Major Publishers
Register