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Labour plans to boost construction and increase affordable housing
Published:  02 October, 2012

Labour plans to build 100,000 affordable homes, creating thousands of jobs in the construction industry, with the proceeds from the auction of the new 4G mobile phone spectrum.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has called for government to commit the £3 billion to £4 billion expected from the sale of the network to provide vital housing and kick start the economy.

He also suggested a two-year stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers buying homes up to £250,000, which he hopes will deliver “real help for people aspiring to get on the property ladder”.

The previous Labour government raised £22.5 billion through the sale of the last mobile phone network, but used the money to repay Britain's debts.

However, Ed Balls said that in difficult times the money cannot be used to help towards the austerity programme, but urgently needs to be put back into the economy.

Speaking at Labour's conference in Manchester, Ed Balls highlighted the need for a clear, costed plan for the future.

“And we also need reform to boost long-term investment and skills - the only routes to rising living standards for working families.”

The shadow secretary also announced that the chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, Sir John Armitt, has agreed to review long-term infrastructure planning and finance.

“We need a comprehensive long-term plan to rebuild Britain’s infrastructure for the 21st century, and a cross-party consensus to deliver it,” he said.

Responding to the speech, John Cridland, CBI director-general, said: “The CBI welcomes more action on housing investment, which would give a much-needed boost to growth. But such action must complement continued efforts to reduce the deficit. The two must go together, it cannot be an either or.

This speech firmed up Labour’s plans for investment in infrastructure, but there will clearly be tough choices ahead in their zero-based spending review, and we will need to hear more of the detail. Both will need a strong focus on effective action and delivery."

The Coalition is currently deciding how to handle the sale of the 4G licences.