LABOUR will vow today to crack down on developers “hoarding” land earmarked for nearly 1,800 badly-needed homes across Hampshire.

Ed Miliband will threaten to give local authorities “use it or lose it”

powers to ensure the homes are built – also helping to kick-start the economy.

Under the plan, building firms could be fined if they refuse to develop land that has been given planning permission.

Town halls could also be given “compulsory purchase” powers to buy back sites that lie empty for years, despite having been approved for development.

The move follows an investigation that found no fewer than 1,766 homes across Hampshire with approval – yet work has not started.

That included 342 in Southampton, with significant numbers also in Isle of Wight (353), Test Valley (303), Fareham (178), Gosport (117) and Winchester (115).

In a speech to Labour's National Policy Forum today, Mr Miliband will say that young people cannot afford their own homes because too few are being built.

And he will say: “There are firms sitting on land, waiting for it to accumulate in value and not building on it. Landowners with planning permission, who simply will not build.

“We have to change that.

All options should be on the table, including giving local authorities real power to say to the worst offenders that they should either use the land, or lose the land.

“Permission to build should mean landowners build. Developers should be encouraged to do what they are in business to do, build houses.”

In total, planning permission has been granted for 400,000 homes in England that have not been built, the Local Government Association found.

It said the figures showed the Government was wrong to push for looser planning rules to speed up development, because builders – not councils – were the log-jam.

Labour accused the Government of overseeing a collapse in housebuilding, with only 18,380 homes completed in the last quarter – the lowest figure for 23 years. A ‘Help to Buy’ scheme was unveiled for those unable to find the hefty deposits now demanded by mortgage lenders, helping 215,000 people a year nationwide.

But critics warned that – without more homes being built – it will create another “housing bubble”, pushing prices up at the expense of buyers and destabilising the economy.

Planning minister Nick Boles said: “Most normal planning permissions already expire after a three-year period and councils don't have to renew them. And confiscating any land from development will not help build a single house.”