Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Election Promises on Housebuilding

We know we are not building enough houses – and, thank goodness, all the main political parties realise that too. This is how they plan to tackle it according to their manifestos:

Conservatives: proposing a £1bn brownfield land regeneration fund. We're not entirely convinced by the 400,000 figure for homes that could be built on that land but it's a great starting point.

Labour: planning to build 200,000 new homes -  it seems an ambitious, but achievable, target for new houses in one year. 

Lib Dems: 300,000 new homes in 10 new Garden Cities – planned communities seem like the best way forward and we also quite like the “use it or lose it” power for local authorities to stop large organisations sitting on land banks for too long and controlling the market for new homes.

UKIP: 1 million homes on previously developed land by 2025. A lot more ambitious than the Tories' plan although it does rather beg the question of why brownfield land is not already being used for housing if it's in places where people might actually want to live.

Greens: pledging to build 500,000 homes for social rent by 2020. Audacious but we’re a bit sceptical about how that would be funded... or planned... or even achieved.

SNP: supporting the Help to Buy scheme and reassuring to see that none of the major parties are planning to reverse that policy.

There is a real consensus that we need more houses – the challenge is to maintain the drive to build them. Let's bear in mind we only built 120,000 in 2014.

What our economy urgently needs is consistent demand. Manufacturers need it in order to commit to the investment needed to increase the supply of building products and employers need it to commit to the long-term process of training a new generation of skilled tradespeople.

Whatever government we have after May 7th – please, help us to keep building!