General Election: Housing

We’ve had most of the manifestos for the General Election on 4th July, but what do they say about housing?

The good news is that housing, and building more of it, features in all UK party manifestos. The bad news is that the level of detail on how more housing will be delivered is light. Planning reform features in all UK party manifestos, as does prioritising brownfield development. New towns/garden cities also feature in some. Homelessness, particularly ending rough sleeping, also features in the main parties’ manifestos, with Labour promising a new cross-government strategy, working with Mayors and Councils.

But who offers the most for more social housing? The strongest commitments come from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party. Labour has said they will “deliver the biggest increase in social and affordable housebuilding in a generation”, the Green Party commit to 150,000 social rent homes per year and the Lib Dems to 150,000 new social homes per year.

What about housing affordability? With all parties focused on making the economy grow, will wage growth help address housing affordability? The main political parties all commit to increasing rates of home ownership, with first time buyer help from both the Conservatives and Labour and promise of a ‘Rent to Own’ model for social housing from the Lib Dems. Any welfare reform is focused on addressing child poverty (Labour), ending deep poverty (Lib Dems), and addressing the number of working age people claiming benefits (Conservatives), with no mention of Local Housing Allowance.

As ever, there are questions that remain about whether what is promised can be funded as well as delivered (we’ll leave the question of funding to independent analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies). Resolving housing quality, sustainability, affordability and supply requires long-term thinking and is unlikely to be solved over the five-year parliamentary term.

View the full overview below:

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