Tomorrow is election day and, if you’re still undecided, housing could be the issue that sways it. We’ve summarised where the two leading parties stand on housing so you don’t have to go searching.
The Conservatives want to build 1.5m homes in the next five years. To achieve this, they will support “high quality, high-density housing like mansion blocks, mews houses and terraced streets” and review space standards to “ensure greater local housing choice”.
They will maintain “existing strong protections for the Green Belt” and clarify that Green Belt boundaries should be amended only in “exceptional circumstances”.
They will diversify the housing market by “opening it up to smaller builders”, encourage “institutional investment in the private rented sector”, and make it “easier for people who want to build their own homes”.
To build homes faster, they will “make it easier for councils to use compulsory purchase orders”, create a digital map of who owns land in Britain, and “invest in making the planning system more open and accessible, and tackle unnecessary delays”.
To protect home-buyers, they will “crack down on unfair practices in leasehold, such as escalating ground rents” and “reform and modernise the home-buying process so it is more efficient and less costly” – with the intention of cutting the “£270m wasted each year by buyers and vendors on sales that fall through”.
To support homeownership, the Tories will keep Right to Buy and propose a building programme of “fixed-term social houses, which will be sold privately after ten to fifteen years with an automatic Right to Buy for tenants”.
And on council homes, they will draw up New Council Housing Deals with ambitious, pro-development, local authorities to help them build more social housing”.
Labour pledge a million new homes over five years, including at least 100,000 council and housing association homes every year. They will also fund new “Living Rent” homes capped at one-third of local incomes.
For new development, they will prioritise brownfield land, protect the Green Belt and start work on a new generation of New Towns. They will also consult on new rules on minimum space standards to prevent “rabbit hutch” properties and on new modern standards for building “zero carbon homes”.
Help to Buy will be extended until 2027 “to give long-term certainty to first-time buyers and the housebuilding industry”, but Right to Buy for council tenants will be suspended. They will also give leaseholders security from “rip-off” ground rents and “end the routine use of leasehold houses in new developments”.
And for generation rent, they will make three-year tenancies the norm, bring in inflation caps on rent rises, ban letting agency fees on tenants, and introduce new legal minimum standards to ensure properties are “fit for human habitation” and that tenants can take action if homes are sub-standard.
Labour wants to create a Department for Housing to focus on tackling the crisis to ensure housing is about homes for the many, set up a National Transformation Fund to oversee the building of council homes, and will overhaul the existing Homes and Communities Agency.
And finally, on welfare, they will reverse the decision to abolish housing benefit for 18 to 21 year olds and scrap the bedroom tax for council and social tenants.
Click HERE to read the full Labour manifesto.