LABOUR has unveiled plans for Lancashire County Council to intervene directly in building affordable homes.

It is considering using its long-established economic development arm to build a new generation of properties for rent.

Lancashire County Development Limited sells surplus sites to generate capital receipts for re-investment within the authority but is now set to use the cash to build a new generation of ‘council’ houses and flats.

This would generate a regular income to pay for the authority which provide services to Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Ribble Valley, Rossendale and Chorley.

The proposal was unveiled by shadow housing secretary John Healey and county leader Cllr Jennifer Mein on a visit to Progress Housing Group in Leyland.

She said: “The affordable housing supply statistics from 2015/16 are catastrophic.

“They show the Government has ignored the development of social rented homes: the figures are now the lowest since records began.

“We will work to ensure families across Lancashire exploited by rising private renting costs are the first people in the county given the option of living in one of the affordable rented homes we will be developing.”

County council Tory group chairman and Oswaldtwistle representative Peter Britcliffe said: “This is another delusional idea for the authority’s Labour leadership.

“The county council has enough problems as it is without going into property development.”

Mr Healey said: “I am pleased to be here for the launch of this great initiative.”