Keir Starmer can ‘only bring real change by fixing the housing emergency’ (2024)


Activists from Shelter hung a banner from Westminster Bridge demanding Keir Starmer ends the housing crisis before he had even moved in to 10 Downing Street

by: Liam Geraghty

5 Jul 2024

Keir Starmer can ‘only bring real change by fixing the housing emergency’ (1)

Shelter activists headed to Westminster after Labour's landslide win to demand Keir Starmer delivers the change he has promised on the campaign trail. Image: Jake Darling Photography

New prime minister Keir Starmer faces a bulging in-tray when he enters 10 Downing Street but he is already being urged to get on with tackling the UK housing crisis.

While housing was down the pecking order when it came to big issues on the campaign trail, Labour promised 1.5 million new homes would be built by 2029 alongside planning reforms and an immediate ban on no-fault evictions to protect renters.

But Starmer had not even got the keys to Downing Street after his party’s landslide win before activists from charity Shelter hung a banner from Westminster Bridge urging the Labour leader to prove he would bring change by ending the housing emergency.

Mairi MacRae, director of campaigns at Shelter, said: “Keir Starmer has been elected on a mandate for change, and we’re in Westminster today to tell him that now it’s time to prove it, and that starts with tackling housing head on.

“Across the country, the housing emergency is ruining lives. Home is our foundation for a stable, healthy life and society – but right now, millions of people don’t have that.

“To deliver real, lasting change, the new government must turbocharge building social housing – we need 90,000 homes for social rent a year for 10 years to clear the social housing waiting list and help eradicate homelessness. And we urgently need new legislation that makes renting safer, secure and more affordable.”

Keir Starmer can ‘only bring real change by fixing the housing emergency’ (2)

Successive governments from both Labour and the Conservatives have failed to reckon with the housing crisis and Starmer’s task is an unenviable one.

He inherits a situation where house prices are out of reach for many – a situation he hopes to fix by making the mortgage guarantee scheme permanent – and private rents are at record highs.

Meanwhile, rough sleeping is surging – including hitting new heights in London – and a record 113,000 households are living in temporary accommodation with 145,800 children growing up without a permanent home.

Big Issue is demanding an end to poverty this general election. Will you sign ouropen letterto party leaders?

The Big Issue’s Blueprint for Change called on the new prime minister to build more affordable and social housing as well as banning no-fault evictions, ending renters’ five-year wait for action.

Labour has promised to prioritise building social rent homes – but is yet to commit to a figure.

Amid gloomy forecasts for housebuilding in the months ahead, housing associations have urged Starmer to change how social housing rents are calculated to allow builders to commit long-term to delivering new homes.

Currently, social housing rents are set in the autumn and rise by the level of inflation plus 1% the following April.

“Not-for-profit housing charities, like Hyde, build over a fifth of all new homes in the UK, and we’ve been warning for months that affordable housing starts were set to plummet,” said chief executive of The Hyde Group, Andy Hulme.

“The 96% drop in the number of homes started by housing associations in London at the end of the last year being one piece of evidence of this.

“In the next settlement for social housing rents, it’s vitally important this government delivers long-term certainty to help us unlock additional private sector investment with a 10-year, inflation-linked settlement and a 10-year funding programme to build more affordable homes. Investors making long-term investment decisions need long-term stability and funding commitments from national government.”

John Glenton, executive director of care and support at Riverside housing association, said the new government must recognise that investing in housing to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping will save cash in the long run.

“The scarcity of housing supply is creating a humanitarian crisis as more and more families are priced out of housing and end up living in temporary accommodation,” said Glenton.

“This situation is also causing a financial crisis for local government with councils in England spending more than £1.7bn on temporary accommodation last year – double the amount they spent seven years ago.

“The new government needs to take an invest-to-save approach if we are to ease the housing crisis and be successful in reducing homelessness and rough sleeping. As the economy grows, the provision of social and affordable housing must become a top spending priority.”

Fiona Fletcher-Smith, head of the G15 group of London’s biggest housing associations, said Labour must also improve access to the building safety fund and social housing decarbonisation fund to boost social housing.

Meanwhile, both the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) and the property agent group Propertymark pledged to work with the Labour government to fix the broken private rented sector.

NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle warned Starmer that reforms must not worsen an “already chronic shortage of rental properties to meet demand”.

Oli Sherlock, managing director of insurance at lettings platform Goodlord, said the new government has “a hell of a job on its hands” and called for a “rapidly implemented plan for housebuilding”.

“We need consistency of leadership,” said Sherlock. “This isn’t Premier League football, we can’t afford to have another merry-go-round of housing ministers – the sector is far too fragile. Long-term planning, consistent leadership, and clarity over details is what the market is calling out for as we enter this new chapter.”

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Keir Starmer can ‘only bring real change by fixing the housing emergency’ (2024)


What does Keir Starmer believe in? ›

Policies. In June 2024, Starmer released the Labour Party 2024 general election manifesto Change, which focuses on economic growth, planning system reforms, infrastructure, what Starmer describes as "clean energy", healthcare, education, childcare, and strengthening workers' rights.

What did Keir Starmer get a knighthood for? ›

Sir Keir Starmer — a title he rarely uses himself — was awarded a knighthood in 2014 for his work as head of the CPS and director of Public Prosecutions; a tradition for those in this role. His services for “law and criminal justice” were cited as reasons for the honour.

Which football team does Keir Starmer support? ›

The Labour leader, who is a keen football fan and Arsenal supporter, was asked about the vital clash by reporters travelling with him to the Nato summit in Washington DC. Sir Keir said he would be reliant on officials to update him on the score as he takes part in his first major foreign trip as prime minister.

Who is the new PM in the UK? ›

Newly elected British Prime Minister Keir Starmer has settled into government after his party won a landslide victory last week. His cabinet, appointed on Friday, has set records for having the most female and state school-educated ministers in the UK's history.

What type of socialist is Keir Starmer? ›

“I would describe myself as a socialist. I describe myself as a progressive”. These were Labour leader Keir Starmer's words in May 2024 shortly after his first speech of the election campaign. Labour's constitution defines it as a democratic socialist party.

What has Keir Starmer done? ›

He was Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (2016-2020) and Shadow Immigration Minister (2015-2016). In April 2020, Keir was elected as Leader of the Labour Party. “It is the honour and privilege of my life.

Is Keir Starmer's wife a lady? ›

Victoria, Lady Starmer (née Alexander; born 1973 or 1974) is the wife of Keir Starmer, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the Labour Party. She previously worked as a solicitor and currently works for the National Health Service (NHS) as an occupational health worker.

Is Starmer an English name? ›

Starmer is a surname. It is an English habitational surname.

Is the Labour Party liberal? ›

The Labour Party is a social democratic political party in the United Kingdom that has been described as being an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists, and trade unionists. The Labour Party sits on the centre-left of the political spectrum.

Is Keir Starmer still an MP? ›

The Rt Hon Keir Starmer is the Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras, and has been an MP continually since 7 May 2015. He currently holds the Government post of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury. In addition, he is Leader of the Labour Party.

Who was the Leader of the Labour Party before Keir Starmer? ›

Leaders of the Labour Party (1906–present)
No.Leader (birth–death)Left office
17Ed Miliband (b. 1969)8 May 2015
Harriet Harman (b. 1950) (acting: 2nd time)12 September 2015
18Jeremy Corbyn (b. 1949)4 April 2020
19Sir Keir Starmer (b. 1962)Incumbent
50 more rows

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SAM SMITH on X: "FULHAM ⚽️“@hendersonfan14: @samsmithworld which football team do you support?

Who is the new female Prime Minister of the UK? ›

Truss is the third female prime minister, following Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May, and is both the last of 15 UK prime ministers to have served under Elizabeth II and the first to have served under King Charles III.

Who is becoming the new Prime Minister? ›

Shri Narendra Modi was sworn-in as India's Prime Minister for the third time on 9th June 2024, following another decisive victory in the 2024 Parliamentary elections. This victory marked the third consecutive term for Shri Modi, further solidifying his leadership.

Who is the new first minister of UK? ›

Talks focused on collaborative working and areas of shared interest. First Minister John Swinney welcomed Sir Keir Starmer to Bute House for one of his first engagements after being appointed as the new UK Prime Minister.

What does the Labour Party believe in? ›

The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in the United Kingdom. It has been described as an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists, and trade unionists. The Labour Party sits on the centre-left of the political spectrum.

What is the ideology of the Workers Party of Britain? ›

Ideology and platform

The party identifies as a socialist, working class party, which aims for "a redistribution of wealth and power in favour of working people". It describes itself as "economically radical" and "committed to class politics".

What are the Starmers pledges? ›

Support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water; end outsourcing out NHS, local government and justice system. Full voting rights for EU nationals. Defend free movement as we leave the EU. An immigration system based on compassion and dignity.

What does labour want to achieve? ›

Labour will make sure we have strong national security, secure borders, and economic stability. Building on these secure foundations, we have already set out the first steps for change. Today we present further policies in this manifesto, as part of the journey of rebuilding our country. Help deliver change to Britain.


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