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Election 2017 - What do the manifestos have to say about the housing crisis?

The failure to build enough new homes over the past three decades has resulted in a perennial shortage of housing stock, keeping prices artificially high. Home ownership in England has fallen to its lowest point since the 1980s and with house prices soaring, along with the cost of renting, many people are finding it difficult to get a foot on the property ladder.

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With the election only a few short weeks away we look at the pledges made by two of the major political parties in their manifestos on their plans to “fix the broken housing market”.

Conservatives

The Conservatives have pledged to meet an existing commitment to build a million homes by the end of 2020, with a further 500,000 by the end of 2022.

Its manifesto stated: “We will fix the dysfunctional housing market so that housing is more affordable and people have the security they need to plan for the future. The key to this is to build enough homes to meet demand.

There will be new “council housing deals” to allow local authorities to build more social housing.

Fixed term social houses will also be built and sold privately after 10 to 15 years with an automatic right to buy for tenants. The cash raised from sales will be used to build further properties.

The manifesto pledged to modernise the home-buying process so it is more efficient and less costly, as well as crack down on unfair practices in leasehold, such as escalating ground rents.

There would also be improved protections and security for “good tenants” and landlords would be encouraged to offer longer tenancies as standard.

Labour

If Labour is elected it has promised that it will build over a million new homes, including at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year for genuinely affordable rent or sale.

They will guarantee Help to Buy funding until 2027 and have plans to establish a new Department for Housing to tackle the housing crisis.

Brownfield sites will be prioritised to protect the green belt and, to avoid urban sprawl, a new generation of New Towns will be built.

In relation to renting Labour has pledged to make new three-year tenancies the norm, with an inflation cap on rent rises. They will also legislate to ban letting agency fees for tenants.

Right to Buy will be suspended to protect affordable homes for local people, with councils only able to sell if they can prove they have a strategy to replace homes sold on a like for like basis.

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