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UK election: What’s next for housing and planning?

Here's what the major UK parties are proposing.

As the 2024 General Election approaches, the major UK parties reveal their proposals to tackle the current housing and planning issues.

, Lodders Solicitors, Trainee Solicitor, Stratford upon Avon

Whilst the current government have put several initiatives in place to address the pressing housing concerns, the overall housing crisis persists; property prices continue to rise, the supply of affordable housing is not keeping up with demand and despite attempts to simplify the planning process, developers still face major hurdles, slowing down the rate of new home construction.

So, with the UK election fast approaching, what do the major political parties have to offer as solutions to the current housing and planning issues? Julie Hodge, solicitor in the Real Estate group at Lodders, provides a snapshot of the key proposals put forward.

Conservative Party

Emphasising home ownership and streamlined development process, the Conservative Party’s key proposals include:

  • Housing target: to deliver 320,000 new homes per annum.
  • New Help to Buy scheme: to extend the current scheme to help more first-time buyers enter the property market.
  • Brownfield development: to focus on brownfield site and providing a fast-track route through the planning system for new homes on previously developed land in the 20 largest cities.
  • Planning reforms: to simplify the planning system to make it easier to build faster; speed up the average time it takes to sign off major infrastructure projects from four years to one.
  • Abolition of EU ‘nutrient neutrality’: to immediately unlock the building of 100,000 new homes with local consent, with developers required in law to pay a one-off mitigation fee so there is no net additional pollution.

Click here to view the Conservatives Party’s full manifesto.

Labour Party

With a strong focus on social and affordable housing, the Labour Party’s key proposals include:

  • Housing target: to deliver 300,000 homes per annum.
  • National Policy Planning Framework: to reinstate mandatory housing targets and ensure planning authorities maintain local plans.
  • Community engagement and intervention: to encourage local communities to shape housebuilding in their area.
  • Brownfield and Greenbelt land: to prioritise the development of previously used land and fast-tracking approval of urban brownfield sites. Labour has also pledged a more strategic approach to greenbelt land designation. The release of lower quality ‘grey belt’ land will be prioritised, and the party will introduce ‘golden rules’ to ensure development benefits communities and nature.
  • First time buyer support: to introduce a permanent, comprehensive mortgage guarantee scheme to support first-time buyers who struggle to save for a large deposit, with lower mortgage costs.

Click here to view the Labour Party’s full manifesto.

Liberal Democrats

Aiming to increase housing supply whilst protecting the environment, the Liberal Democrats key proposals include:

  • Housing target: to deliver 380,000 homes per annum (150,000 of which are to be social housing)
  • Community-led development: to build 10 new garden cities and encourage community-led development of cities and towns.
  • Brownfield development: to encourage the development of existing brownfield sites with financial incentives and ensuring that affordable and social housing is included in these projects.
  • Planning reform: to introduce ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ planning permission for developers who refuse to build.
  • Reform of Land Compensation Act 1961: to allow councils to buy land for housing based on current use value rather than on a hope-value basis.

Click here to view the Liberal Democrats’ full manifesto.

Reform UK

Aiming to unleash housebuilding and cutting immigration, Reform UK’s key proposals include:

  • Planning system reform: to fast-track planning and tax incentives for development of brownfield sites. Reform will also introduce a ‘loose fit planning’ policy for large residential developments with pre-approved guidelines and developer requirements.
  • Reform social housing law: to prioritise local people and those who have paid into the system, with foreign nationals to go to back of the queue.
  • Removal of section 24 landlords: to encourage smaller landlords into rental markets and restoring landlords’ right to deduct finance costs and mortgage interest from tax on rental income.
  • Abolition of renters’ (reform) bill: to boost the monitoring, appeals and enforcement process for renters with grievances.
  • Use of new construction technology: to incentivise innovation to speed up building with modular construction, digital technology and building sites that improve efficiency and cut waste.

Click here to view Reform UK’s complete policy documents.

Green Party 

By prioritising sustainability and community-oriented development, the Green Party’s key proposals include:

  • Housing target: to deliver 150,000 social homes per annum.
  • Planning reforms: to require all new developments to be accompanied by the extra investment needed in local health, transport and other services.
  • Rent controls: so local authorities can control rents if the rental market is unaffordable for many local people.

Click here to view the Green Party’s full manifesto.

A clear consensus: more affordable housing

Despite the varying approaches of each party, as the UK election approaches, there is a clear consensus on the need to build more homes, make housing more affordable and streamline the planning processes. We will wait to see which of the parties’ plans will come to fruition post-4 July!

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Emily Brampton, Lodders Solicitors

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