5th June 2017

How will the General Election affect Housing Supply, Home Ownership & Rental Market?

With the General Election on the 8th June, Rebecca Matthew and Kevin O’Reilly represented Matthew’s of Chester at the Chester Business Club hustings event on 31 May 2017 at the Crowne Plaza. This event provided the opportunity mainstream party candidates to participate in a Q&A session as part of their quest to become the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Chester. The candidates present were Chris Matheson (Labour), Will Gallagher (Conservatives) and Lizzie Dukes (Liberal Democrats). Each of the candidates were ‘grilled’ on a wide range of subjects from questions by the audience, excellently facilitated by Jim Hancock (Political commentator). Each candidate provided composed responses to questions raised, outlining the differences in policies and approaches between each party. With regards to the impact the election result will have on the Housing Market, we have extracted some of the key points from each of respective manifestos for Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party. As Chester is an extremely marginal seat, it is even more important there is a good turnout on polling day from local people. Special thanks go to Caleb Sirot-Smith (Economics under-graduate at Chester University) for assistance with investigating the manifestos and current political commentaries. Overview of political party manifestos in relation to Housing The following is a brief overview of the respective manifestos setting out commitments made by the political parties regarding housing and financial regulations. The commitments have been summarised for Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, in terms of

  1. Housing supply and standards
  2. Home ownership and financial regulations.
  3. The social and private rented sector.

1. Housing supply and standards

labour housing

  • Over 1 million new homes will be built.
  • Building new homes will be the priority of Labour’s National Transformation Fund, as part of a joined-up industrial and skills strategy.
  • End government restrictions on councils building new homes.
  • By the end of this coming parliament there will at least 100,000 affordable homes being constructed annually by the council and housing associations for purchase and rent.
  • Suspend the right-to-buy, with councils only able to resume if they can prove they have a plan to replace homes sold like-for-like.
  • Local council plans will address the needs for housing for the elderly, ensuring that choice and downsizing options are readily available.
  • Introduce revenue neutral stamp duty incentives to encourage a good energy efficiency standard at the point of sale.

conservative housing

  • Continue to complete the commitment set in 2015 to build a million houses by the end of 2020 and a further half million by 2022.
  • Build better houses, to match the quality of those we have inherited from previous generations. That means supporting high-quality, high-density housing like mansion blocks, mews houses and terraced streets.
  • New Council Housing Deals with ambitious, pro-development, local authorities to help them build more social housing.
  • Deliver the reforms proposed in the Housing White Paper to free up more land for the new homes in the right places, speed up build out by encouraging modern methods of construction and give councils power to intervene where developers do not act on their planning permissions; and diversify who builds homes in the UK.
  • Support multigenerational homes and houses for the elderly and support specialist housing where ever else it is needed.

liberal democrats housing

  • Set an ambitious target of increasing the rate of housebuilding to 300,000 a year.
  • Set up a new government-backed British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank with a remit including providing long-term capital for major new settlements and helping attract finance for major house building projects.
  • Lift the borrowing cap on local authorities and increase the borrowing capacity of Housing
  • Associations so that they can build council and social housing.

green party housing

  • A major programme to build affordable, zero carbon homes, including 100,000 social rented homes each year by 2022.
  • End mass council house sales and scrap Right to Buy at discounted prices.
  • Action on empty homes to bring them back into use and a trial of a Land Value Tax to encourage the use of vacant land and reduce speculation.
  • A public works programme of insulation to make every home warm and investing in flood defences and natural flood management to make every community safer.

2. Home Ownership and Financial Regulations

labour housing

  • Guarantee Help to Buy funding will remain until 2027.
  • Establish a department for housing, prioritising: increased numbers, standards and affordability of homes.
  • Ensure the land registry remains in public hands ensuring land ownership is more transparent.
  • Offer home owners interest-free loans to improve their property.
  • Scrap the bedroom tax.
  • Extend existing Stamp Duty Reserve Tax to cover a wider range of assets.
  • Give leaseholders security from ‘rip-off’ ground rents and end routine use of leasehold houses in new developments.

conservative housing

  • Reform and modernise the home-buying process so it is more efficient and less costly.
  • Fix the dysfunctional housing market so that housing is more affordable and people have the security they need to plan for the future.
  • Adopt a “Breathing Space” scheme so that someone in serious problem debt may apply for legal protection from further interest, charges and enforcement action for a period of up to six weeks.
  • Crack down on unfair practices in leasehold, such as escalating ground rents.
  • Reform compulsory purchase orders to make them easier to determine the true market value of sites.

liberal democrats housing

  • Help people who cannot afford a deposit by introducing a new Rent to Own model where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning it outright after 30 years.
  • Give British buyers a fair chance by stopping developers advertising homes abroad before they have been advertised in the UK.

green party housing

  • Take steps towards the introduction of a universal basic income, including a government sponsored pilot scheme, as a means to increase security and avoid the poverty trap.
  • Abolish the cruel and unfair bedroom tax.
  • Help first-time buyers by aiming for house price stability – axing buy-to-let tax breaks, and backing community-led approaches to building affordable homes.

3. Renting in the Private and Social Sector

labour housing

  • End the Conservatives’ ban on long-term council tenancies.
  • Three-year tenancies will become the norm, capping rent increases to inflation rates, with the consideration of granting the mayor of London additional power to grant extra security to London renters.
  • New legal minimum standards of properties ensuring they’re ‘fit for human habitation’ and empower tenants to take action against substandard dwellings.
  • Improve on existing Landlord Energy Efficiency regulations and re-establish the Landlord Energy saving Allowance to encourage update of efficiency measures
  • To empower tenants to call time on bad landlords by giving renters new consumer rights.
  • Reverse cuts to 18-21 year olds for housing benefits.
  • Legislation to ban letting agency fees for tenants.

conservative housing

  • Improve protections for those who rent, including looking at how to increase security for good tenants and encouraging landlords to offer longer tenancies.
  • Provide greater flexibility to housing associations to increase their housing stock.
  • Build new fixed-term social houses which will be sold privately after ten to fifteen years with an automatic Right to Buy for tenants, the proceeds of which will be recycled into further homes.

liberal democrats housing

  • Promote longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built in, to give tenants security and limit rent hikes.
  • Improve renting by banning lettings fees for tenants, capping up-front deposits, and increasing minimum standards in rented homes.
  • Improve protections against rogue landlords through mandatory licensing and allow access for tenants to the Database of Rogue Landlords and Letting Agents.
  • Give tenants first refusal to buy the home they are renting from a landlord who decides to sell during the tenancy at the market rate according to an independent valuation.

green party housing

  • A living rent for all through rent controls and more secure tenancies for private renters, an end to letting fees and the introduction of mandatory licensing for all landlords.
  • Protect young people’s housing needs by reinstating housing benefit for under-21s, stop
  • Local Authorities declaring young people “intentionally homeless”, and invest in community house-building projects to provide affordable, secure housing options for young people.

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