July 3, 2024

Housing Policies: A Comparative Look at Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat Plans

This post was written by: Riya Sekhon

This article is based on an article written by Policy in Practice | https://policyinpractice.co.uk/general-election-2024-what-the-party-manifestos-tell-us-about-housing-and-local-government/

As housing continues to be a critical issue in the UK, political parties have put forwards their strategies to address the crisis. Here’s a breakdown of the key housing policies from the Conservatives, Labour, and Liberal Democrats.

Conservative Party Policies:

Ending Rough Sleeping – Focus on preventing homelessness by delivering commitments under the Local Authority Housing Fund and reviewing temporary accommodation quality.

Social Housing Reforms – Introduce “Local Connection” and “UK Connection” tests for social housing eligibility.

Anti-Social Behaviour – Implement a “three strikes and you’re out” rule for social housing landlords dealing with anti-social tenants.

Housing Developments – Aim to deliver 1.6 million well-designed homes in suitable locations.

Stamp Duty Reform – Permanently abolish Stamp Duty for homes up to £425,000 for first-time buyers, with an equity loan of up to 20% for new builds, allowing purchases with a 5% deposit.

Affordable Home Programme – Renew and continue focusing on regenerating housing estates, coupled with the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme.

Renters Reform Bill – Ensure fairness in the rental market, abolish Section 21, and strengthen eviction grounds for anti-social behaviour.

Rural Housing Initiatives – Increases affordable housing availability in rural areas, supported by rural exception sites and a dedicated Homes England Taskforce.

Labour Party Policies:

New Home Construction – Build 1.5 million new homes over the next Parliament.

Social Housing Priority – Focus on building new social rented homes, protect existing stock, review Right to Buy discounts, and increase protections for new social housing.

Abolish Section 21 – Immediately end “no-fault” evictions, protect private renters from exploitation and discrimination, and empower them to challenge rent increases.

Homelessness Strategy – Develop a cross-government strategy to end homelessness, working with Mayors and Councils.

Affordability and Standards – Make housing more affordable, expand childcare access, improve work pay, and enforce mandatory housing targets.

Social and Affordable Housing – Achieve the largest increase in social and affordable house building in a generation, ensuring new developments provide more affordable homes.

Liberal Democrat Policies:

Cross-Whitehall Homelessness Plan – Urgently publish a plan to end all forms of homelessness.

Emergency Accommodation Duty – Introduce a legal duty to provide emergency accommodation and assessments for those at risk of sleeping rough.

Shared Accommodation Rate Exemptions – Exempt certain homeless groups from this rate.

Local Authority Support – Ensure local authorities have sufficient resources to deliver the Homelessness Reduction Act and support domestic abuse survivors.

Building New Homes – Increase the annual building rate to 380,000 homes across the UK, including 150,000 social homes, through garden cities and community-led developments.

Tenant Protections – Ban no-fault evictions, make three-year tenancies the default, and create a national register of licensed landlords.

Right to Buy Powers – Give local authorities the power to end Right to Buy in their areas.

Vagrancy Act – Scrap the Vagrancy Act and end rough sleeping within the next Parliament.

Rent to Own Model – Introduce a model where rent payments progressively give tenants ownership of their social housing after 30 years.

Each party presents distinct approaches to tackling the housing crisis, focusing on increasing housing supply, protecting renters, and addressing homelessness.

With the election only a day away, voters now have the opportunity to choose the vision that aligns best with their values and needs.