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By Graham Norwood

Editor, Estate Agent Today

Graham Awards


Industry Views - The Housing Battleground for General Election 2024

So we’ve been sent the ‘Save The Date’ card - it’s July 4.

Now all we need is the invitation to the party - or should we say parties?

It’s going to be the first week of June before party manifestos are published and, for once, housing looks set to be a central part of the General Election debate.


What do we know so far about what the parties stand for?

The list below will undoubtedly change - for example Labour has already dropped housing from its ‘big six’ priorities, and it’s unlikely that the Tories will repeat explicit rental reform pledges given their failure to achieve them over the past five years.

Expect the Green and Reform UK parties to produce manifestos with more detailed housing pledges than those hinted at so far, while the Liberal Democrat’s and, north of the border, may risk being squeezed out of a debate set to be dominated by Labour and Conservatives.

But until those manifestos appear (and you can rely on some of them containing big surprises) this is what we know of the housing battleground for the 2024 General Election.

•    An ‘advisory’ target of 500,000 new homes per year;
•    Introduction of a ‘Help To Buy’ replacement, aimed at first time buyers;
•    Continue its £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme for lower cost new homes;
•    Strengthen renters’ rights, stop no-fault evictions and force landlords to be registered;
•    Opposition to private sector rent controls;
•    Oblige whole properties given over to Airbnb and short lets to seek planning approval;
•    Replace the freehold system with new ‘Commonhold’ and reduce ground rent to £250 maximum;
•    General commitment to improve energy efficiency in homes, but targets scrapped in 2023.

•    Deliver 1.5m new homes within five years;
•    Build on brownfield urban sites and some less attractive parts of the Green Belt;
•    Give local people ‘first dibs’ on new housing schemes;
•    Create  a series of new towns, with 40% to 50% of homes deemed ‘affordable’;
•    Further restrict social housing tenants’ Right To Buy;
•    Strengthen renters’ rights, stop no-fault evictions and force landlords to be registered;
•    Party debating private sector rent controls - some want councils and mayors to have powers to impose them;
•    Make it easier for leaseholders to buy the freehold, and reduce ground rent;
•    Target of every home to have an Energy Performance Certificate of C or above “within a decade.”

Liberal Democrats:
•    UK-wide target of 150,000 new affordable homes each year by the end of the next parliament;
•    10-year emergency programme to insulate Britain’s homes and reduce domestic emissions;
•    Unspecified measures to oblige developers to build appropriate infrastructure for new housing schemes;
•    Abolishing leaseholds and cut ground rents “to a nominal fee”;
•    Strengthen renters’ rights, stop no-fault evictions and force landlords to be registered;
•    New powers for local authorities to control and manage second homes and holiday lets.
•    Expansion of Neighbourhood Planning with more ‘democratic engagement’ in Local Plans;
•    Building 10 new garden cities.

Reform UK:
•    Fast-track planning and tax incentives for development of brownfield sites, including unused offices and shops;
•    Review developer contributions for infrastructure to accelerate house building;
•    Prioritise British and particularly local people for social housing;
•    Scrap tax penalties imposed on landlords in recent years to incentivise more buy to let;
•    Scrap the Renters Reform Bill while beefing up council monitoring and enforcement of private rental standards;
•    Tax incentives for house builders to use new construction technology;
•    More apprentices and vocational courses to boost supply of housebuilding workers and skills.

Scottish National Party:
•    SNP has recently declared a ‘housing emergency’ across Scotland;
•    Aim to build 100,000 affordable homes by 2032;
•    Land reform to encourage ‘community buy out’ of plots;
•    Rural Housing Fund to encourage more building in remote areas;
•    First Home Fund to help first time buyers;
•    Continue ban on Right To Buy;
•    Continue with private sector rent controls;
•    Continue strict licensing system for Airbnbs and other short let properties.

Green Party:
•    Provide funding to councils to meet their needs for affordable social housing;
•    Lift some restrictive rules on council borrowing for housebuilding;
•    Extra 150,000 council homes a year through new build, refurbishment, conversions and buying existing homes;
•    Ending Right to Buy in England;
•    Private sector rent controls;
•    Greater renter rights and ending Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions;
•    Creating a ‘community right to buy’ giving councils, housing associations and community groups first refusal to buy certain properties;
•    Oblige owners of homes to sell if property is “left empty for an unacceptably long time.”


* Estate Agent Today contributor and TV presenter Phil Spencer gives his take on the election’s impact on the housing market on his consumer platform Move iQ here: https://www.moveiq.co.uk/blog/news/housing-market-england/ *


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