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Corbyn reiterates Labour's policy to compulsory purchase agricultural land to stem housing crisis

By Jonathan Wheeler 

 

The Labour Party is still considering using compulsory purchase powers to buy development land at agricultural prices to increase rural house building.

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During a visit to Harper Adams University, party leader Jeremy Corbyn said the idea was now out to consultation.

 

“If developers think they can hold onto a land bank forever, that is wrong," he said.

 

“The idea is now part of a policy consultation. We have sent out a substantial policy document which is about solving the problems of homelessness and considering how we manage housing and help first time buyers.

 

“We have a housing crisis. We need to get empty properties back into use and make more land available for new housing.”

 

The idea of setting up the English Sovereign Land Trust to advance this idea was included in the party’s 2017 General Election manifesto.

 

Mr Corbyn, who lived and went to school in Newport, said a good supply of housing could benefit the diversity of rural communities.

 

“I loved growing up here and love the countryside," he added.

 


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"I have always been very interested in rural life and farming.

 

“I want to see a vibrant agricultural economy in the future and more rural housing is needed to maintain the diversity of the rural population.

 

“They also need better schools and better public transport. Rural bus services are in a lamentable state.”

 

He was speaking to journalists after a tour of the college during which he visited the new dairy research unit and the Hands Free Hectare project, both of which he praised.

 

“This is a world renowned university with students from all over the globe," said Mr Corbyn.

“We need to grow more food more efficiently, and using less pesticides and fertiliser, while also protecting biodiversity.

 

“This college does outstanding work and we can all learn a lot from it.”

 

He found joint interest in the pest control centre where he spoke with Dr Tom Pope, research entomologist about controlling slugs on vegetables.

 

“I have problems with slugs on my allotment – we shared a few ideas," said Mr Corbyn.

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