As the Conservative Party and the Labour Party launch their manifestos, it is clear that housing has become a key policy in the 2015 General Election.
The question of affordability for a generation of aspiring homeowners has put the problem of home ownership firmly at the centre of the political agenda. Leaders Ed Miliband and David Cameron are both keen to point out that solving the UK’s housing crisis will be a key part of their term.
At the launch of the Labour Manifesto yesterday, Mr Miliband made clear that his party would put the interests of working people ahead of vested commercial interests, promising to raise the minimum wage to more than £8 by 2020 and requiring the wealthiest in society to pay more in tax.
This would include the so called ‘Mansion Tax’ on properties worth over £2m, which Mr Miliband says will bring in a significant proportion of the £2.4bn of funding they have pledged for the NHS.
Other housing policies Labour have drawn up include a pledge to build 200,000 new homes by 2020 and greater protection for tenants by introducing a ‘ceiling’ on rent rises and introducing guaranteed three year tenancies.
Current Prime Minister Mr Cameron is set to put forward his pledge on housing at the launch of his party manifesto in Swindon this morning.
Mr Cameron will make clear that a Conservative government will extend the ‘Right-to-Buy’ scheme, enabling up to 1.3m housing association tenants to buy their own home at a discount. The move would be funded by new rules forcing councils to sell properties ranked in the most expensive third of their type in the local area, once they become vacant.
The Conservatives say every house purchased will be replaced “on a one-for-one basis” with more affordable homes and no-one will be forced to leave their home.
The party said 15,000 homes would be sold and replaced every year as a result, and that the proceeds would also cover a fund to help councils bring derelict land back on brownfield sites to use.
Mr Cameron will say 400,000 new homes would be built over five years as a result and that “the dream of a property-owning democracy is alive”.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg is set to launch his party manifesto tomorrow.