Who is asking for what in their housing manifestos?

publication date: Apr 13, 2015
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

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Who is asking for what in their housing manifestos?

With the election in full flow, it’s worth having a look at what the political parties are offering versus what the housing industry is actually asking for!

What do the key organisations want?

The biggest call is for new homes. Without them, the economy will really suffer – especially in places such as London.

The Homes for Britain campaign
This is backed by all those in the public and private sector, but led by the National Housing Federation.

Calls on the next government to ‘end the housing crisis in a generation’ and for the next government to publish a long-term plan for housing within a year of taking office, which continues until everyone has access to a decent affordable home.

National Housing Federation
In addition to their Homes for Britain campaign, they are keen to have more affordable home (link below)

They are urging the next government to “invest at least £2.5 billion a year to deliver 80,000 affordable homes.”

So far, under the Coalition, funding for affordable homes has been halved, leaving more people to rent in the Private Rented Sector – which both Labour and the Coalition have for the last 25 years refused to regulate, despite calls from the self-regulated industry.


Shelter call for Affordable Homes and help for Renters
Shelter have long been campaigning for help for England’s renters. They are asking for letting fees to be banned, longer tenancies and generally making it far more difficult for landlords to evict tenants.

More recently, they are backing the provision of more affordable homes.

According to Crisis, homelessness is dangerous. They are 13 times more likely to be a victim of crime versus you and I and worst still, they only live to 47 years old.

This means it also costs the state financially, an estimated £1 billion.

Crisis claim “The law as it stands creates a two tier system between people in ‘priority need’ who are owed the full homelessness duty and those who are judged not to be and can be turned away with little or no help”

In Scotland, ‘priority need’ has now been abolished, so all homeless are entitled to somewhere to live while in Wales local authorities now have to help anyone at threat of losing their home, ignoring the ‘priority need’.

National Association of Estate Agents
In their manifesto they ask for the likes of bricks and other materials to be ordered a year before a home can be built, for skilled workers and to cut red tape so that regulations on house building aren’t too onerous, putting up homes that are unnecessarily expensive.

In addition they look at:-

  1. Planning policy needing a radical re-think

  2. Government to resist calls for three year tenancies (most rent from 18 to 24 months)

  3. Compulsory requirement for letting agents to have Client Money Protection

  4. Regulation to be tightened for the entire industry via a stringent licensing code

  5. Tax support for institutional investment

  6. Fines for empty homes

  7. Taxes to maintain homes and improvements

  8. Reduce VAT on repairs to 5%

  9. No to mansion tax

  10. PRS to be treated as ‘entrepreneurial business activity’ for Capital Gains Tax purposes

British Property Federation
In summary what they want is a better environment to invest in housing and construction. For every £1 invested there is over £2.09 delivered back into the economy.

  1. Review business rates

  2. Reform the community infrastructure levy (CIL) so that it supports development

  3. Give local authorities freedom to make greater use of tax increment finance (TIF)

  4. Integrate housing, health, social care budgets.

  5. Tax homes fairly

  6. Ensure regulations encourage financial stability to reflect the importance of commercial real estate

  7. Streamline planning

  8. Support a professional residential private rented sector

  9. Recognise the need for large mixed infrastructure projects

  10. Empower local leaders to build

They tell us that ‘investment in core real estate sectors directly contributed £54 billion to the UK economy in 2013’. Reminding us that building is good for our economy.

Residential Landlord Association
With Private Rented Sector the only tenure which is growing and landlords investing around £50 billion in homes to rent, the RLA recommendations include:-

  1. New measures to encourage investment in homes to rent

  2. Changes to planning and tax regimes, for example to sell rental properties to first time buyers

  3. Much more rigorous enforcement of powers to tackle the small number of criminal operators

  4. A new right for tenants to renew their tenancies up to five years

  5. All parties to commit to a period of stability in the welfare system – for tenants and landlords

  6. No national register of landlords, instead, get the Council Tax form to have a ‘tick box’ for tenants to say they are renting. Mainly because criminal landlords wouldn’t admit to doing the job in the first place!

For more read the RLA Manifesto 

National House Builders Federation
Private developers are asking for:-

  1. The provision of 245,000 homes a year

  2. Use procurement as a tool to build more efficiently and drive up industry skills – public sector is holding back development

  3. The next government needs to work with the construction industry, institutional investors and financial services sector to unlock investment and make sure there is greater stability and certainty for construction companies – even in a downturn – for example a ‘Builders Finance Fund’.

  4. Continue support of Help to Buy

  5. No more major changes to the National Planning Policy Framework

  6. Highlight better the role of SMEs in the building homes market

  7. Remove the ‘housing revenue account borrowing cap so councils can build more homes

  8. A new strategy for ‘housing growth areas’ with existing sites and deliver dates

  9. Clarity on housing regulation for low-energy, waste and drain age standards

  10. Bring back more empty homes into use

And, last but not least, reduce VAT on repair and maintenance work from 20% to 5%

For more, read the NHBF Manifesto 

Oh and I did my own for the Private Rented Sector!



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