Owen Smith has announced his plans to solve the housing crisis as part of his campaign to become leader of the labour party. Owen has pledged to increase house building to 300,000 homes a year, of which 150,000 would be social homes, over the course of the next parliament. “The latest figures show that only 139,690 homes were built last year, whilst projections of demand show that 243,000 homes are needed in England every year, meaning thousands will be unable to get onto the housing ladder,” Smith said in a statement. “At the current rate there will be a shortfall of at least half a million homes over the next parliament. We need to act now, and neither Jeremy’s nor the Tories’ plans will fill that shortfall,” he added. Labour held areas have built twice as many social and affordable homes than Tory ones this year, according to Smith. “Only Labour can tackle this crisis, and only Labour will provide homes which working people can afford,” he said. This will be funded by his British New Deal of £200 billion, part of which will be spent on the house building programme. Smith has pledged to free up councils to borrow money in order to build the council homes they desperately need, and ensure that at least half of those are affordable homes to help struggling young people and families. There have long been warnings that home ownership is declining all over the country, and without an adequate plan the crisis can only get worse, Smith warned. “The Tories are planning to kill off social housing for good by extending the right-to-buy and flogging off council stock, and both Jeremy Corbyn and the Tories’ plans for house-building are unambitious,” he said.