Now they say they will build on this. The party says ‘Britain needs social housing that promotes opportunity, social mobility and pride in neighbourhoods, in place of Labour’s policies which have reinforced welfare dependency. We will reform the planning system to put real power in the hands of local people, protect the environment and work with communities to build more family homes.’
The key Manifesto points are:
– Help first-time buyers get on the housing ladder, by increasing the stamp duty threshold for them to £250,000, so that nine out of ten first-time buyers will pay no stamp duty. This is a permanent tax cut, unlike Labour’s plans which are just for two years; and
– Abolish Labour’s expensive and unnecessary Home Information Packs which increase the cost and hassle of selling homes
– Strengthen shared ownership schemes which allow those on low-to-middle incomes to own or part-own their home. We will offer tenants with a record of five years’ good behaviour a 10 per cent equity share in their social rented property, which can be cashed in when they want to move up the housing ladder;
– Introduce a comprehensive national mobility scheme for good tenants who wish to move to other social sector properties, and pilot a Right to Move scheme to allow every family in social housing the chance to relocate by exchanging their home for another one – anywhere in the country;
– Recognise the importance of social housing and the security it provides. We will protect and respect the rights of social tenants. Many social tenants have great pride in their homes and the neighbourhood in which they live, and deserve to be encouraged; and
– Ensure more accurate homelessness counts and include homelessness as a Ministerial responsibility across a series of government departments.
– Reward councils for building more homes and promoting local economic growth, by allowing them to keep more of the proceeds from council tax and business rates from new development. An extra incentive will be given to encourage the building of affordable housing;
– Create new Local Housing Trusts to allow local communities to build local homes for local people, while protecting the character of their neighbourhoods and villages; and
– Stop gardens and family homes being bulldozed, by giving councils stronger powers to prevent unwanted ‘garden grabbing’ and infill development in suburban neighbourhoods, and build more family homes with gardens and sufficient parking spaces.
– Abolish the unelected, bureaucratic tier of regional planning and return power to local communities and their elected councillors to protect their Green Belt and determine the right level of development; and
– Abolish the unelected Infrastructure Planning Commission and restore the discretion of the Secretary of State. National Policy Statements will be ratified by Parliament to speed up the system, and hybrid Bills will be used to authorise complex national projects like high speed rail.
– Abolish state powers, introduced by John Prescott, to seize private homes such as those of the recently deceased; and
– Rein back in state powers of entry – including abolishing council tax inspectors’ right to enter your home
In response to the announcement on HIPs Mike Ockenden, Director General of AHIPP said:
“The Tory Manifesto pledge to abolish HIPs is not only extremely disappointing, but is also rather misleading, as Shadow Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, has openly agreed to a consultation on packs should the Conservatives come to power. This constructive course of action is vital and we would urge the party to honour this promise. The future path should be adapting rather than scrapping HIPs, to ensure home movers are not cast back into the dark ages.
“AHIPP and its members are already delivering the next stage of reform through Exchange-ready packs, which halve the time taken to get to exchange of contracts. In the event that the Tories win the election, we look forward to working with them to further improve the home buying and selling process for consumers.”
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