A MANIFESTO FOR HOUSING
Published 25 April 2017
So once again we are to go to the polls, and even if you agree with ‘Brenda from Bristol’ as seen on the BBC (“Oh no, not again”), we are privileged to have a vote in the first place, and whatever your political viewpoint, you should use that vote.
Of course, the focus of the campaign in the next six weeks is likely to be Brexit. But we should not forget that we are electing our government for the next five years (or until whoever wins decides the polls are favourable, anyway), and that means that it can’t be a single-issue election.
There are many things the incoming government will have to get to grips with, and one of the most pressing is the continued housing crisis in our country; it is vital that housing remains at the top of the political agenda.
And so I am launching my five-point Manifesto For Housing; these are the things that I would like to see a government of any political colour commit to.
The only way we can hope to solve the housing crisis is to increase supply – and that means building more new homes. It is vital that a stagnating planning system does not slow the momentum that currently exists – I would like to see a strategic approach to planning at national level which focuses on the big picture.
The Right Homes
We need to ensure that affordable starter homes feature large in any new development. Only if we can get first-time buyers into the market can a level of normality return, because that in turn will enable others to move on up the ladder.
Help To Buy
That rarest of things, a government initiative which has actually worked, Help To Buy is helping thousands of first-time buyers purchase their own home. It is a great scheme which deserves to be extended; we must hope that an incoming government does not view Help To Buy as having done its job. It is still very much needed.
Help For The Bank Of Mum And Dad
Parents and grandparents are an increasingly important part of financing their children’s and grandchildren’s first home. For most, this is not without an element of sacrifice (a bit like a marathon runner sacrificing their personal best time to help a fellow runner in trouble). We need to recognise this, and encourage such familial support through tax breaks and other help.
We must stop knocking private landlords – it is they who help maintain the balance between demand and supply in the private rented sector. The latest figures from Rightmove show that a 12% increase in available rental properties has resulted in the smallest average rent increases for three years. It’s time to give landlords a break.
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