General Election Manifestos: What are the main housing policies?
31 May 2017
By Tola Omoniyi
reallymoving previews the 2017 General Election with a focus on the housing policies being put forward by the three main political parties.
The snap General Election, called by Prime Minister Theresa May in April, is now fast-approaching. As we enter the business end of the campaign trail, voters all over the country will be thinking long and hard about their final decision.
With a series of TV debates and interviews underway, the race for Number 10 is really heating up, and the polls are swinging wildly each day in the build up to 8th June.
We recently looked at how the upcoming election could affect the property market and now it's time to analyse the housing policies of the three main political parties...
The Conservative Party
The Conservative manifesto - the last of the three major parties to be published - provides confirmation of many of the party's previously outline housing policies. Theresa May has been Prime Minister for almost a year now and during that time there has been an Autumn Statement, Spring Budget and the publication of a Housing White Paper.
Many of the policies put forward in the General Election manifesto have been outlined at earlier points in May's tenure. There are also some housing policies included which were originally put forward by the Cameron-Osborne administration.
When it comes to housing, the Tories' outlook focuses on 'Homes for All', with the party saying that buying or renting a home has become increasingly unaffordable.
A large part of the current government's housing manifesto focuses on new homes and housebuilding. Theresa May has reconfirmed the party's pledge to deliver one million homes by the end of 2020, adding that a further 500,000 will be constructed by the end of 2022.
In addition, the manifesto states that - should the Conservatives emerge victorious in June - they will ensure that private capital is invested into housing developments in a more productive way, and that the issues of 'poor planning', 'high land costs' and 'careless developers' will be addressed.
The Government will also support the development of 'high-quality' and 'high-density' housing types such as mansion blocks, terraced streets and mews houses.
A further pledge is to ensure that the housebuilding focus is not solely on the south east of England.
The Conservatives are also promising to limit unfair leasehold practices like surging ground rents.
One new policy included in the Conservative manifesto is a pledge to reform and modernise the home buying process. The promise is yet to be detailed but the party has confirmed that it will not re-introduce Home Information Packs as part of this overhaul.
For the rental market, the Conservatives have pledged to improve protections for tenants and encourage landlords to offer longer tenancies. The ban on letting agent fees charged to tenants is also confirmed.
You can read the Conservative manifesto in full here.
The Labour Party
Jeremy Corbyn's party has gone on record as saying that the UK is in the midst of a housing crisis, caused by a low supply of homes and increasingly unaffordable housing costs.
Labour's stance is predominantly focused on providing more affordable housing and making new homes more energy efficient.
Should Corbyn beat Theresa May to Number 10, his party promises to build over a million homes during the course of the next Parliament. On top of this, Labour has pledged to provide an additional 100,000 housing association and council homes.
The main opposition are also keen to replace the current Homes and Communities Agency with a new Department for Housing - a move designed to provide local councils with more housebuilding powers and responsibilities.
Labour has also pledged to protect the Green Belt, build on brownfield sites, keep the Land Registry public and insulate more new homes.
Like the Conservatives, Labour is also keen to tackle an increasingly problematic leasehold sector.
When i comes to the Private Rented Sector, Labour has also promised to ban letting agent fees, introduce a cap on rent rises and make three-year tenancies the norm.
You can read the Labour Party manifesto in full here.
The Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats, who are now led by Tim Farron, are hoping to win back some seats this time around after a disastrous 2015 General Election. The party's housing policies revolve around addressing the supply/demand imbalance and fixing Britain's housing crisis.
The Lib Dem manifesto pledges to build 300,000 new homes a year, as well as 500,000 energy efficient properties by the end of the next Parliament. There is also an ambitious promise to deliver at least 10 new Garden Cities in England.
Farron's party has also gone on record saying it will end voluntary Right to Buy and introduce a Rent to Own scheme with the aim of helping aspiring first-time buyers onto the housing ladder.
Interestingly, there is also a policy to make sure that all new homes are advertised in Britain before they are put in front of the overseas investment market.
For tenants, the Lib Dems have proposed a Help to Rent scheme, a ban on letting agents' fees, longer tenancies and a clamp down on 'rogue' landlords.
You can read the Liberal Democrats' manifesto in full here.
All three parties have acknowledged a housing crisis and pledged to provide more new homes should they prove victorious on June 8.
Labour and the Liberal Democrats have placed more emphasis on affordable homes, while the Conservatives are keen to reduce complications for house builders and developers.
What's more, all three manifestos have a similar outlook for the PRS, with an emphasis on longer tenancies and a blanket ban on letting agent fees charged to tenants.
However the election pans out, whoever takes the key to Number 10 this time around is sure to keep housing high up on their agenda throughout their tenure as Prime Minister.
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