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Labour ‘would build 100,000 affordable homes’ from 4G sale

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has called for £3bn from a windfall sales of 4G network licences to be spent on building affordable homes, rather than paying down national debt.

Mr Balls told the Labour party conference that the £3bn could be used to build up to 100,000 more affordable homes, creating thousands of jobs in construction and kickstarting the economy.

He said the move would help to “get our construction industry moving again” and referred to the government’s lack of action on road building when criticising coalition policies on the economy and infrastructure.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast this morning, Mr Balls claimed people were “fed up” with government excuses, and that “they want action now”.

The sale of the 4G spectrum licence is due to take place next year. Labour estimates that it will raise £3bn, of which it pledges to spend £2.5bn on affordable housing and £500m on a two-year stamp duty holiday for properties worth less than £250,000.

Mr Balls claims 119,000 jobs have been lost in the construction sector in the past two years, and that there has been a 68 per cent reduction in affordable home construction.

But Tory MP and vice chairman Margot James hit back, saying the money should be spent tackling the deficit.

She told the BBC’s Today programme: “We’ve already got plans to relax the planning laws, and free up government land and incentivise business, the developers, to build on the land that they’ve already got permission for.”

“I would use some of that money to pay down the debt, rather than start thinking of ways of spending it, but that’s unfortunately Labour’s default position.”

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