#ELLHousingCrisis: How well do you know the housing policies of the parties ahead of the General Election?

house for sale signs

Houses for sale. Pic: Bill Konos

One in seven British voters believe housing is among the most important issues in May’s general election.

According to a March poll by Ipsos MORI, 14 per cent of voters across the country rank homes as a key issue. In 2010, the figure was as low as five per cent.

The Green Party, in particular, have moved the issue firmly into the electoral mainstream. For more on their proposed changes to the housing market in London and beyond you can read our feature on the party’s rise to prominence on Thursday

Here are the policies to consider at the ballot box in May.

Conservatives

  • Resurrecting the Right to Buy: the Conservatives are expected to give up to 2.5 million housing association tenants the right to purchase their homes, extending a policy first introduced in 1980 which allowed 1.5 million council house occupants to buy their homes at discounted rates. This will reduce the number of homes available for social housing.
  • English buyers under 40 would be able to obtain a 20% discount on their first home.
  • 200,000 starter homes to be built for first time buyers by 2020.
  • £100 million to be spent on a 13,000 garden city in Oxfordshire with the possibility of another being built in the South East.

Labour

  • 200,000 new homes a year to be built by 2020.
  • A mansion tax for owners of homes worth more than £2 million, costing £250 a month in extra taxes to anyone living in these properties. Around 96 per cent of those on whom the tax would be levied live in London.
  • The party will repeal the bedroom tax.
  • Labour intend to cap rent increases in the private sector and scrap letting fees from agents.

 Liberal Democrats

  • The recently unveiled ‘rent-to-own’ scheme allows tenants to make payments towards buying their home without ever paying a deposit.
  • 70,000 currently empty homes will be brought back to use and 190,000 new affordable homes will be built.
  • Up to five new garden cities are promised in the South East.

The Green Party

  • The Green Party are the only party to have formally committed to rent control. Read more on this in our feature on the party.
  • 500,000 new socially-rented homes will be part-funded by withdrawing tax relief for private landlords on their mortgage payments.
  • Along with Labour, the Lib Dems, UKIP and the SNP they promise to abolish the “bedroom tax”.

UKIP

  • The party has committed to protecting the Green Belt.
  • Planning permission for large-scale developments can be overturned by local referendums.
  • Houses built on brownfield will be exempt from stamp duty.

With all this considered, who will you be voting for in May? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet us using the hashtag #ELLHousingCrisis.

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