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Week in Westminster

Published: 19 May 2017 | Author: Michelle Vosper

So, this week revealed the offerings of the main political parties with the publication of their manifestos. The key pledges include…



Meet 2015 commitment to deliver a million homes by the end of 2020 and half a million more by the end of 2022.

Deliver the reforms proposed in the Housing White Paper to free up more land for new homes in the right places, speed up build-out by encouraging modern methods of construction and give councils powers to intervene where developers do not act on their planning permissions; and diversify who builds homes in this country.

Support specialist housing where it is needed, like multigenerational homes and housing for older people.

Combine the relevant parts of HM Land Registry, Ordnance Survey, the Valuation Office Agency, the Hydrographic Office and Geological Survey to create a comprehensive geospatial data body within government. This new body will set the standards to digitise the planning process and help create the most comprehensive digital map of Britain to date.

Continue to support those struggling to buy or rent a home, including those living in a home owned by a housing association.

Build over a million new homes. By the end of the next Parliament will be building at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year for affordable rent or sale.

Establish a Department for Housing to focus on improving the number, standards and affordability of homes.

Overhaul the Homes and Communities Agency to be Labour’s housing delivery body.

Make the building of new homes, including council homes a priority through our National Transformation Fund, as part of a joined up industrial and skills strategy.

Ensure local plans address the need for older people’s housing, ensuring that choice and downsizing options are readily available.

Build 300,000 homes a year by 2022, including half a million affordable and energy-efficient homes, with direct government commissioning where the market fails to deliver.

Set up a new government-backed British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank (with £5 billion of initial capital using public money) with a remit including providing long-term capital for major new settlements and helping attract finance for major housebuilding projects.

Scrap exemptions on smaller housing development schemes from their obligation to provide affordable homes, and strengthen the hand of local government to prevent large developers reneging on their commitments. 


Reform and modernise the home-buying process so it is more efficient and less costly.

Crack down on unfair practices in leasehold, such as escalating ground rents.

Adopt a “Breathing Space” scheme  so that someone in serious problem debt may apply for legal protection from further interest, charges and enforcement action for a period of up to six weeks.  

Build thousands more low-cost homes reserved for first-time buyers. And give local people buying their first home first dibs on new homes built in their area.

Guarantee Help to Buy funding until 2027.

Give leaseholders security from rip-off ground rents and end the routine use of leasehold houses in new developments.

Consider introduction of a land value tax.

Offer home owners interest-free loans to improve their property.

Introduce revenue neutral stamp duty incentives to encourage a good energy efficiency standard at the point of sale.

Keep the Land Registry in public hands and make ownership of land more transparent.


Introduce a new Rent to Own model where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning it outright after 30 years.

Give British buyers a fair chance by stopping developers advertising homes abroad before they have been advertised in the UK.

Reverse cuts to Capital Gains Tax; Capital Gains Tax extended relief; and the raising of the Inheritance Tax threshold.

Consider introduction of a land value tax.


Improve protections for those who rent, including by looking at how to increase security for good tenants and encouraging landlords to offer longer tenancies as standard.


Make new three-year tenancies the norm, with an inflation cap on rent rises. Will look at giving the Mayor for London the power to give renters in London additional security.

Legislate to ban letting agency fees for tenants.

Introduce new legal minimum standards to ensure properties are fit for human habitation and empower tenants to take action if their rented homes are substandard.

Reverse cuts to housing benefit for 18-21 year olds.

Improve on existing Landlord Energy Efficiency regulations and re-establish the Landlord Energy Saving Allowance to encourage update of efficiency measures.


Establish a new Help to Rent scheme to provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time renters under 30.

Give tenants first refusal to buy the home they are renting from a landlord who decides to sell during the tenancy at the market rate according to an independent valuation.

Promote longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built in, to give tenants security and limit rent hikes.

Ban lettings fees for tenants, cap upfront deposits and increase minimum standards in rented homes.

Improve protections against rogue landlords through mandatory licensing and allow access for tenants to the database of rogue landlords and property agents.

Reverse cuts to housing benefit for 18-21-year-olds

Increase Local Housing Allowance in line with average rents in an area.  


Enter into new council housing deals with ambitious, pro-development, local authorities to help them build more social housing. Work with them to improve their capability and capacity to develop more good homes, as well as providing them with significant low-cost capital funding.

Greater flexibility to housing associations to increase their housing stock.

Build new fixed-term social houses, which will be sold privately after ten to fifteen years with an automatic Right to Buy for tenants, the proceeds of which will be recycled into further homes. 


End government restrictions that stop councils building homes.

Suspend the right-to-buy, with councils only able to resume if they can prove they have a plan to replace homes sold like-for-like.

End the ban on long-term council tenancies.

Scrap the bedroom tax.


Lift the borrowing cap on local authorities and increase the borrowing capacity of housing associations so that they can build council and social housing.

End the Voluntary Right to Buy pilots that sell off housing association homes and the associated high value asset levy.

Enable local authorities to:

  • Levy up to 200% council tax on second homes and ‘buy to leave empty’ investments from overseas.
  • Enforce housebuilding on unwanted public sector land.
  • Penalise excessive land-banking when builders with planning permission have failed to build after three years.
  • End the Right to Buy if they choose.

Scrap the ‘bedroom tax’, while seeking to achieve the aim of making best use of the housing supply through incentivising local authorities to help tenants ‘downsize’.


Strengthen the hand of regulators in consumer markets and consider a duty on regulators to have regard to the needs of vulnerable consumers.

Establish a Digital Charter to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online. Establish a regulatory framework to underpin this, and introduce a sanctions regime to ensure compliance.

Institute an expert Data Use and Ethics Commission to advise regulators and parliament on the nature of data use and how best to prevent abuse.

Bring forward a new data protection law to ensure the best standards for safe, flexible and dynamic use of data.

Roll out the gov.verify digital identification service so that people can identify themselves on all government online services and some non-government services, including banking, by 2020.


Overhaul the regulation of our financial system, putting in place a firm ring-fence between investment and retail banking.

Consulted on breaking up RBS to create new local public banks.

Extend existing Stamp Duty Reserve Tax to cover a wider range of assets.


Take forward the recommendations of the House of Lords Select Committee on Financial Exclusion, in particular by expanding the Financial Conduct Authority’s remit to include a statutory duty to promote financial inclusion as one of its key objectives.