Election 2017: The main parties’ property plans
PUBLISHED: 08:22 24 May 2017
Danny Loo Photography 2016
With the General Election coming up on June 8, we take a look at what the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP parties have planned for the housing market
Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto pledges include the delivery of over a million new homes, with half of these reserved for social rent. Labour will also guarantee the help-to-buy scheme, providing first time buyers with government loans to put down a deposit, until 2027, and give locals buying their first home priority on new builds in their area. For renters, Labour wants to introduce a charter of private tenants’ rights.
It would ban letting agents from charging agency fees, as well as introducing greater protections against eviction and preventing unreasonable rent increases between contracts. It has also said it will consider giving further powers to the Mayor of London to provide tenants with “additional security”.
Labour has also said it is committed to supporting homes for vulnerable people and those living with disabilities, and opposing any more cuts to their benefits. The party has also declared its intent to make moves to end homelessness immediately, with the provision of 4000 homes for rough sleepers.
Under Theresa May, the party has pledged to fulfil the previous Conservative government’s 2015 promise to build a million homes by the end of 2020, and half a million more in the two years after that. It has also said that it intends to improve the quality of those homes to match those of previous generations, and will particularly support the construction of high-density housing, such as mansion blocks, mews houses and terraces.
The Conservatives would also aim to boost home ownership through the use of fixed-term council houses, whereby homes would be sold of after 10 to 15 years, and their tenants granted an automatic right to buy. The money raised from these sales would then be used to fund further building.
160,000 of those homes will be built on government-owned land, while the party would maintain existing restrictions against building on the Green Belt, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In addition, the manifesto contains a promise to halve rough sleeping over the course of the next parliament and eliminate it altogether by 2027.
New leader Paul Nuttall is yet to publish his party’s manifesto, so precise details on their housing policy for the 2017 General Election aren’t yet available.
Some local election candidates campaigned on a platform of giving priority for social housing to local residents and military veterans.
The Liberal Democrats have said they will build 330,000 new houses by 2022, half a million of which will be affordable and energy efficient. If in power, the party would also make available the initial funding for a new British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank, to the tune of £5 billion.
There would also be a significant focus on the environment, with the Lib Dems proposing a Green Buildings Act, that would require every home in England to have reached a minimum Band C energy rating by 2035.
They have said they would ensure at least four million homes reach this target by 2022, and prioritise fuel-poor households. In addition, the manifesto promises to restore the zerocarbon standard for new homes, and establish a further 10 garden cities in England. On land use, they would enable local councils to charge up to 200 per cent tax on second homes and those left empty by overseas investors.
They would enforce house-building on public sector land that was unwanted and punish so-called land-banking – when builders with planning permission do not build for over three years.