Labour leadership hopeful demands wealthy landlords be stripped of empty homes

Emily Thornberry said more needed to be done punish wealthy landlords with vacant homes. Credit: Labour.

A LABOUR leadership hopeful has called for landlords with empty homes in the United Kingdom to be stripped off their properties in a bid to solve the housing crisis.

Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, said more needed to be done to punish wealthy landlords who were happy to leave their properties vacant. Speaking at a conference in Bristol, she told supporters that it was a matter of “inter-generational justice” and that the UK was in danger of “leaving a whole generation behind” as a countless number of young people are now not able to afford their own homes. In a fiery speech she said:

“As for all these empty flats, for these people in China who think, ‘Let’s either buy a gold bar or buy a flat in Bristol’ – no!

“You’re not allowed to buy a flat in Bristol as an investment and keep it empty. If you keep it empty, you lose it.”

Ms Thornberry later backed up her claim on Twitter stating that:

“The answer to the housing crisis is to build more homes! By having a carrot and stick approach we can build more homes and stop land banking. The housing crisis affects everyone and Labour must provide the solutions. #FightingBackTogether #LabourHustings”

She also stated that councils should be allowed to take back land from developers who fail to act on planning permission within five years of gaining approval.

Her demands come as Ms Thornberry seeks to make it to the the final stage of the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn. As of Friday, January 31, the shadow cabinet member had the backing of nine CLPs, with the deadline for nominations now just two weeks away.

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Written by

Isha Sesay