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What Party Conference Season means for the UK housing crisis

Housing has featured heavily in this years party conference season - we look at the latest announcements from the 3 main parties aimed at solving the UK housing crisis

The Conservative Party

Today, David Cameron said “We need a national crusade to get homes built. That means banks lending, government releasing land, and yes – planning being reformed.” He wants to move from “Generation Rent” to “Generation Buy”.

The Conservative party have already pledged to build 200,000 “decent, well-built homes with gardens” sold at a 20% discount for first time buyers under 40.  These starter homes will be available at £250,000 outside London and £450,000 inside London.

However, the Government is concerned that planning rules force house builders to construct a certain amount of affordable housing for rent in all new developments. It’s thought that this requirement is hindering house building. David Cameron wants to change those planning rules, so developers will be made to build affordable homes but they can be sold under the “starter homes” programme, rather than rented out.

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of the HomeOwners Alliance commented,

“In order to create a generation of home buyers  we need a generation of house building. We need to see more new homes being built – and not just those already being built transferred from rental to sale. Tweaks around the edges are not going to fix our dysfunctional housing market. We need a comprehensive housing policy which centres on building new homes, and building them now.”

The Labour Party

In his party conference speech, Jeremy Corbyn returned several times to the problem of housing in the UK and the need for an extensive housebuilding programme.

Labour has pledged to build 100,000 new council homes a year. Corbyn made clear that Labour would not rely on private housebuilding to ease the housing crisis but would instead focus on state housing provision, pointing out it was fiscally responsible, as income would be ploughed back into the local economy and the housing benefit bill reduced. Labour promises “investment in council housing, affordable homes, to rent and to buy”.

Shadow housing minister John Healey reiterated Labour’s opposition to Conservative party plans, pledged during the election, to allow housing association tenants the Right to Buy.

The Liberal Democrats

Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats has set a target of building 300,000 homes a year. To do this they want to “give councils the freedom and power to borrow so they can start building again, create 10 new garden cities, create a housing investment bank” and “oppose the sell-off of housing association properties”. 

 


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