Scrapping the NPPF, ending ‘right to buy’ for social housing and bringing around 350,000 vacant homes back into use all feature in the Green Party’s general election manifesto
The Greens may only have one member of parliament, but the party’s 84-page manifesto packs a considerable left-field vision of change, which also includes the delivery of 500,000 new social-rented homes by 2020 and freezing airport expansion.
Party leader Natalie Bennett, said the document was ‘a bold plan to create a more equal, more democratic society while doing our part to heal the planet’.
Housing: Bring at least half of the nation’s estimated 700,000 vacant homes back into use. Reduce pressure on house prices from buy-to-let landlords by removing tax incentives including the deduction of mortgage interest as an expense and reforming the wear-and-tear allowance. Scrap the Coalition’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme on the grounds that if fuels ‘excessive demand’. Diversify the house-building industry so that more homes are built by small- and medium-sized builders and community-led or cooperative initiatives.
Increasing the social-housing budget from £1.5bn to £6bn a year
Big regeneration sites would be parcelled into smaller custom-build plots, while public land could be transferred into community land trusts. Provide 500,000 new social rented homes by increasing the social-housing budget from £1.5billion a year to £6billion a year by 2020 and removing borrowing caps from local authorities. End mass council house sales and the right to buy at a discounted price.
Schools: Reduce class sizes to 20 pupils, costing £1.5billion over the course of the parliament. Integrate academies and free schools into the local authority system. Restore education and current and capital funding to 2010 levels in real terms (costing around £7bn a year) and distributing it fairly between local authoriites.
Planning: Repeal the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), and in particular its presumption in favour of economic development. Restrict the ability of the secretary of state for communities to call in planning applications. Strengthen councils’ powers to prevent changes of use for community facilities such as shops, pubs and meeting halls. Support the preservation of the historic environment by being flexible about how older buildings reduce their energy use.
Green homes: Provide a free nationwide retrofit insulation programme concentrating on areas where fuel poverty is most serious. It would insulate 9m homes in total and aim for the Passivhaus ultra low-energy refurbishment standard. Reduce VAT on housing renovation and repair work including insulation from 20 per cent to 5 per cent, costing £1.6billion a year.
Transport: Stop airport expansion and in particular allow no new runways at either Heathrow or Gatwick. Re-nationalise the country’s railways by not seeking to renew private companies’ franchises as well as not supporting HS2 and investing the savings in improving conventional rail connections and reopening closed lines and stations. End the national major roads programme and spend part of the expected £15bn in savings on improving and subsidising public transport.
Power: Phase out nuclear power within 10 years. Phase out fossil fuel generation, and close all coal-fired power stations by 2023 at the latest. Invest up to £35bn over the parliament in renewable generation and the National Grid.
Green Party showcases 'radical' manifesto