We’re just days away from finding out who gets to take the wheel and try to steer the United Kingdom out of its housing crisis. We’ve written at length about how Labour will affect private rent in this country, so now it’s time to take a look at what each of the other parties brings to the table.
Extending ‘right to buy’ and ‘help to buy’ schemes are at the centre of the Conservative manifesto’s housing agenda, along with plans to build 200,000 affordable starter homes. Cameron also intends to give communities more control over planning, allowing them to protect the Green Belt.
Nick Clegg has made it clear he wants to make affordable housing available for everybody in the UK. He intends to do this through ‘rent to own’ schemes, ‘help to rent’ for young people stuck living with their parents, and most importantly, by building 300,000 carbon neutral homes each year. Like Labour, the Lib Dems will also introduce a mansion tax on properties worth more than £2 million.
Scottish Nationalist Party
Nicola Sturgeon has stated she will abolish the bedroom tax and build up to 30,000 new homes if the SNP win the election. And even if they don’t, many consider it a done deal that they will team up with Labour. The SNP would also end the right to buy social housing.
Leanne Wood is another lefty with a thing for rent controls. She would also enforce stricter regulation in the private rental sector, which she believes will protect both landlords and tenants.
Affordable and sustainable housing is at the centre of Natalie Bennett’s property-related policies. Like the SNP, the Greens would end ‘right to buy’ and ‘help to buy’ schemes, and like Labour they would introduce fixed tenancies and rent controls in the private rental sector. While this is a kick in the teeth to landlords who stand to lose out, Bennett also intends to ban letting agent fees, which rip off both landlords and tenants alike.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nigel Farage wants to prioritise social housing for people with “strong local connections” to their area, meaning native Britons. He also intends to facilitate building on brownfield instead of greenfield sites – houses built on brownfield sites would be exempt from stamp duty upon initial purchase.