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Brown to build ecohomes

Gordon Brown is due to pledge five new "eco towns" in a bid to help thousands of people onto the property ladder, as he continues his leadership campaign.

The chancellor is expected to announce the construction of up to 100,000 sustainable homes across the country.

On Saturday, Mr Brown said education and healthcare were his top domestic priorities, saying he wanted "fairness and opportunity for all" in the UK.

He is so far unchallenged in his bid to succeed Tony Blair as Labour leader.

The chancellor is expected to pledge thousands of homes powered by locally generated energy from sustainable sources.

The proposed five "eco towns" could each contain up to 20,000 homes, funded with a mixture of public and private finance.

The move could see a major expansion in housebuilding if Mr Brown is successful in his bid to succeed Tony Blair.

It reflects concern over the growing demand for homes, which has driven up housing prices, making it more difficult for young couples attempting to get on the property ladder.

Mr Brown will present the plans as a sign that it is Labour not the Conservatives who stand for aspiration, BBC political correspondent Reeta Chakrabarti says.

But the Conservatives say that carbon neutral towns were announced by Labour over a year ago, our correspondent adds.


On Saturday, Mr Brown spent his second day on the campaign trail with visits to marginal seats in Kent.

Speaking at Sunlight Community Centre in Gillingham, Kent, said: "What I want for my children I want for every child, to get the best education and the best healthcare."

Mr Brown said there was a need for electronic prescriptions, the availability of blood pressure checks at pharmacies, and walk-in clinics.

The chancellor said: "I see us building up the NHS and making it a great British institution and making it the envy of the world."

But Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley questioned Mr Brown's history as chancellor when it came to NHS improvements.

"Gordon Brown is responsible for Labour's financial mismanagement of the NHS. He failed to make the NHS a priority during his 10 years as chancellor and his rhetoric today is unconvincing," he said.

Leadership contest

Mr Brown is the firm favourite to succeed Mr Blair when he quits on 27 June.

Labour's national executive is due to announce the timetable for the leadership contest later today.

It will set the timetable for the leadership election itself - if there is one - and for what will be the more hotly contested contest, for the deputy leadership.

Mr Brown will also hold his first policy debate with his two party rivals - Michael Meacher and John McDonnell.

The pair are yet to decide which of them will challenge Mr Brown, insisting that between them they can muster the support needed for one to go forward as a candidate.

Mr Brown could still face a challenge from one of the two left-wing backbenchers, but there appears to be a coordinated effort among Labour MPs to unite behind him, with Blairite MPs Stephen Byers and Alan Milburn also expected to back him.

It'd be nice to see a mandatory emissions level for all new builds and public transport/facilities in place before new estates are occupied.

Don't see why we have to have ecotowns to do that.

Or the 700,000 empty homes filled...

Quite Tahir,
It would also be nice for any "normal" family with with a "normal" income to be able to afford a house, if they want one.
We have lived the past four years in a one bedroom flat (that we owned).
We are now looking and can afford (intrest repayments only), for a two bedroom flat.
There are four people in my family.
We have more space on our allotment space than anywhere else and that costs 30 a year.
I thank this government for keeping the costs of allotment plots down so people can fford to grow their own veg.

Now you are self employed, is there any chance of you looking at a less extortionate part of the country Bingo?

Well, we are setting our business up here in southampton. I also have lots of contacts in the catering here. So really we need to stay here for while. We have thought of moving to all sorts of places in the past but now is not the right time.
I am quite optismistic for our future and one day will buy a house with a garden for my family. Maybe even a holiday Wink .
I'm not really complaining, we could take the easy option (no offence intended) and move into a council house but I want to own my own place, if you know what I mean.
Young people could do with all the help they can get starting out, it's not easy.
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