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Letter from the Publisher – What are the challenger parties saying about housing?

With another hung parliament looking increasingly likely, the so-called ‘challenger parties’ look set to have a major say in who forms the next government. We’ve heard where the Conservatives and Labour stand on housing, but what do the other parties’ manifestos say?

 Liberal Democrats

Where they stand


“Affordable homes for all” is the Lib Dems’ slogan when it comes to housing. The party are keen to tackle Britain’s housing shortage, arguing that the country has failed to build enough new homes for decades. 

What they propose

Building an ambitious 300,000 new houses a year - built to the Zero Carbon Standard. 

To construct at least ten new garden cities in England - providing quality homes, jobs, green space, schools and public transport.

New Rent to Own homes – where monthly payments gradually buy you a stake in the home you’re renting.

New Help to Rent tenancy deposit loans - helping young people get into their first place 

Like Labour, the Lib Dems will implement a mansion tax on properties worth £2m and above.

Scottish National Party

Where they stand

The SNP look set to play a key role in any discussions after May 7, with predictions of a Labour wipeout in Scotland leading to some sort of post-election pact between Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon to form a new coalition. They are currently the largest party in Scotland and the number of MPs they have in the House of Commons is predicted to rise substantially from the six they have at the moment.

What they propose

Ending the bedroom tax.

Pledge to build 30,000 new homes by the end of the Holyrood parliament.

Continuation of affordable homes policy.

Abolition of the right to buy social housing.

The Green Party

Where they stand

The Greens, who could also have a significant involvement in deciding who the next prime minister is, have three main aims when it comes to housing: to make sure that everyone has affordable and sustainable housing tailored to their needs, to ensure that housing encourages community life, and (unsurprisingly) to diminish the impact housing has on the environment.

What they propose

Scrapping Right to Buy and the coalition’s Help to Buy scheme.

Preventing exploitation in the private rented sector by abolishing letting agent fees and insurance-backed tenancy deposits, as well as implementing fixed five year tenancies and rent controls

Bringing 350,000 empty homes back into use

500,000 new social-rented homes by 2020.

Establishment of a living rent commission - to discuss ways in which rents can be brought back in line with incomes. 

Abolition of the bedroom tax.


Where they stand

The controversial far-right party has seen a big rise in its popularity since the last election, with a few high-profile defections from the Conservatives. However, they are very unlikely to enter a coalition with anyone other than the Tories, which could limit their chances of having too much involvement in the next government.

What they propose

Aim to protect the Green Belt by making it easier for developers to build on brownfield instead of greenfield sites. 

Prioritise social housing for people with ‘strong local connections’. Stop non-British nationals from accessing Right to Buy or Help to Buy schemes.

Houses on brownfield sites would be excused from paying Stamp Duty on first sale - while VAT would be relaxed for brownfield site redevelopment. 

A UK Brownfield Agency would be set-up to hand out grants, tax breaks and low interest loans.

Any major planning developments would have to be ratified by a local referendum.  

Plaid Cymru

Where they stand

The Welsh political party are unlikely to have much influence in any post-election deals, although they could be part of a left-wing movement – along with the Greens and the SNP – to see Ed Miliband into No 10. Plaid wants to help reduce the costs of rent and house prices in the medium term by making more affordable housing available.  

What they propose

Implementing stricter rent controls to make sure rental property is more affordable.

Ensuring landlord regulations provide a fair service to landlords and tenants.

Extending the HomeBuy scheme to allow first-time buyers onto the property ladder. 

Backing energy efficient housing improvements to cut energy costs for families.

In the run up to the election rental website Spareroom.co.uk has put together a series of short films tackling the housing debate with questions answered by Emma Reynolds of the Labour Party, Tory MP Bob Neil, UKIP’s Andrew Charalambous, Tim Farron of the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party’s Tom Chance. Here are three of the videos, focusing on letting agent fees, rent controls and affordable housing supply:

  • Jamie Dens

    Perhaps I'm being dim, I'm fairly new to taking an interest in property, but is there any disadvantage in building on brownfield sites? I've never found anyone who could explain to me why we wouldn't do this before building on the green belt etc. Can anyone explain this for me please?


    p.s - like the new sites. I never commented on the old 'Landlord Today'. This is pretty decent

  • Fake Agent

    Hi Jamie,

    Brownfield sites tend to be more expensive to build on. This is because the lands needs to be cleared or, in some cases, decontaminated first, especially if the site was previously used for industrial purposes.

    Additionally, brownfield sites will often require certain compromises and are more likely to be hit by red tape bureaucracy. They are also sometimes situated in inner-city locations which could cause issues with traffic congestion and noise in the future. Environment issues also need to be taken into account when it comes to brownfield sites - there are usually many more concerns raised over brownfield sites than greenfield sites from an environmental perspective.

    There are, of course, advantages to brownfield sites too.

    Hope that helps.


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