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Tories set out general election housing pledges

Shutterstock boris johnson
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A million more homes will be delivered in the next five years under the Conservative party’s housing pledges, which include a range of measures to encourage home ownership

The policies, revealed last week but confirmed in the manifesto launch yesterday (Sunday 24), did not set a target for affordable homes but committed to renewing its Affordable Homes Programme in Spring.

The manifesto includes a range of measures to help first-time buyers, including ’encouraging’ a new market in fixed-rate mortgages to slash deposit costs and expanding the right-to-buy pilot project for housing association tenants. 

It also revealed pledges to enable councils to use developers’ contributions to discount homes in perpetuity by a third for local people who could not otherwise afford to buy in their area.

Councils could use this to prioritise key workers in their area, such as police, nurses and teachers, the manifesto says.

The Conservatives have also promised to reform shared ownership and set up a single standard for shared ownership for all housing associations.

As for renters, the manifesto confirms Theresa May’s promise to abolish ‘no fault’ evictions and introduce one ‘lifetime’ deposit, which is transferred with tenants as they move house. 

Johnson said: ’The Conservatives have always been the party of home ownership but, under a Conservative majority government in 2020, we can and will do even more to ensure everyone can get on and realise their dream of owning their home.

’At the moment renting a property can also be an uncertain and unsettling business, and the costs of deposits make it harder to move. We are going to fix that.’

The party has also committed to protect and enhance the green belt.

In contrast to the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems have committed large amounts of funding to building council homes.

Last week Labour outlined how the party would increase the number of council houses built across the country by committing to deliver 100,000 local authority-backed homes a year by 2024.

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems also said they would create at least 100,000 homes for social rent each year – with the total number of houses (private and social) reaching a huge 300,000 a year. 

Comment

Crispin Truman, chief executive of Campaign to Protect Rural England
’We welcome the Conservative Party’s ongoing commitment to protect and enhance the countryside next door to our towns and cities, which is a crucial resource in tackling the climate emergency and improving the health and wellbeing of city dwellers. However, feted plans to invest in the environment must be spelled out in more detail, and soon. The planet and our countryside cannot wait any longer.

’Less positive is the lack of ambition in tackling the affordable housing crisis in rural communities, particularly the need to deliver significant numbers of social homes. We’re calling on the next government to invest £12.8 billion a year to provide genuinely affordable homes, including homes for social rent, with a fair proportion allocated for rural communities. This is the only way we can end the housing crisis once and for all.’

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