New chancellor Rachel Reeves announces mandatory housing targets 'to get Britain building again' - and lifts onshore wind ban

Rachel Reeves has announced mandatory housing targets and an end to the onshore wind ban to get "Britain building again".

The UK's first ever female chancellor said Labour will create a new taskforce "to accelerate stalled housing sites in our country".

She promised her government would build 1.5 million homes over the next five years, as pledged in Labour's election manifesto.

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"We're not in the business of reneging on our manifesto commitments," she said in her first speech as chancellor after Labour won the general election last Thursday.

"We've received that strong mandate. We're going to deliver on that mandate."

Ms Reeves announced the government will:

• Restore mandatory housebuilding targets
• Build 1.5m homes by the end of this parliament - including affordable and council homes
• End the onshore wind farm ban
• Create a new task force to accelerate stalled housing sites
• Support local authorities with 300 additional planning officers across the country
• Review planning applications previously turned down that could help the economy
• Prioritise brownfield and greybelt land for development to meet housing targets when needed
• Reform the planning system to "deliver the infrastructure that our country needs"
• Set out new policy intentions for critical infrastructure in the coming months.

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The Conservative government pledged in 2019 to build 300,000 new homes a year, with mandatory building targets for all local authorities.

But, that was scrapped in December last year and the promise watered down so the target was only aspirational following concerns house building could damage local areas.

Ms Reeves said: "We will bring back those mandatory housing targets so the answer cannot always be no.

"So it'll be up to local communities to decide where the housing is built, but it has to be built."

The new chancellor said the government has already started work on its housing pledges by giving the go-ahead to build 14,000 new homes across Liverpool Central Docks, Worcester, Northstowe and Langley Sutton Coldfield.

She said Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner is also reconsidering planning appeals for data centres in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

Unresolved infrastructure projects will also be prioritised, she added.

Before the election, the chancellor had warned the next government would inherit "the worst set of circumstances since the Second World War".

She said on Monday: "What I have seen over the past 72 hours has only confirmed that."

Over the weekend she commissioned analysis by the Treasury, which found if the UK economy had grown at the average rate of other OECD economies since 2010, when the Conservatives won power, it would have been more than £140bn larger and could have brought in £58bn in tax revenues in 2023 alone to pay for public services.

Ms Reeves said this analysis will be presented to parliament ahead of the summer recess, with a date for that yet to be confirmed, and a full Budget will happen this autumn, accompanied by a forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Asked by Sky News' economic editor Ed Conway when people can expect economic growth to start, Ms Reeves said: "We are now getting on with delivering [growth].

"These are our first steps to bring back economic growth. I mean business and we are getting on with that work to unlock that growth."