Labour leadership front-runner Jeremy Corbyn has suggested a party run by him would consider a ban on the purchase of homes by non-UK based entities or by companies and offshore trusts.
With the result of the party’s leadership campaign to be announced in only eight days time, Corbyn acknowledges that policies to end what is often called Buy To Leave - because foreign-registered companies and some overseas buyers purchase homes to appreciate, rather than be used - would “by no means solve our housing crisis.”
But in an extensive manifesto setting out his housing priorities, he says local authorities could levy higher council tax rates or there could be a new tax on homes left empty.
“Many other cities around the world have taken steps to ensure homes go to people who live and work in the city rather than to people who see the homes as assets for financial speculation. Highly populated cities like Hong Kong and Singapore have taken steps to discourage overseas buyers” says Corbyn.
Instead of extending the Right To Buy programme from just council housing to housing association properties, as advocated by the current government, Corbyn says “we should be reducing the harm it causes to our affordable housing stock.”
Specifically, he says local authorities in areas of high housing stress should be given the power to suspend RTB to protect depleting social housing stock.
“It is essential we make sure receipts from Right To Buy remain in a local area and that genuine replacements are built. We could also reduce the discount” says Corbyn.
The Islington North MP says he wants an end to the forced sale of so-called ‘high value’ council homes, as advocated by the Cameron government.
“The damage of this policy is illustrated in London, where many inner boroughs could lose a third or more of their council homes as a result of this policy, which we know are likely to go to investors and speculators. It will put yet more pressure on privately rented homes, particularly in parts of outer London, as people on low incomes desperately find somewhere even vaguely near family or work that they can afford” he claims.
His housing manifesto also says that private developer landbanking - a practice that London Mayor Boris Johnson has described as “pernicious” - could be deterred through a Land Value Tax on undeveloped land which has planning permission, plus ‘use it or lose it’ measures on other brownfield sites to act as an incentive to use land for more homes.