Building more houses
Policies in this section only affect England unless specified.
There is an urgent need for new houses in the UK with high levels of homelessness and unaffordable housing. We believe the government needs to focus on increasing the number of houses available and fight against rising levels of homelessness.
A zoning system. A zoning system would split land up into separate areas called zones in which different types of building is allowed or for some areas no building is allowed at all. This system would mean more certainty to those wanting to build houses than the current system which looks at each building project individually. It would also likely lead to land prices being far more stable as what can be done with that land is set out before that land is brought. This system would be set by local councils and we support zones having multiple uses rather than just being for one purpose only. One of the other advantages to this system would be a using it to encourage building on Brownfield sites with the ability to place less restrictions on what can be built on these areas. This differs from the current system which leaves the possibility of other areas receiving more lenient planning permission due to being approved on an individual basis. Finally, we would create specific zone types that could be used by travellers and other communities more easily.
A new purchasing system for council houses. Right to buy should be replaced by a new scheme which will allow councils to build more houses. In this system when tenants are earning enough, they will be able to pay money towards a deposit to buy their council house. When the tenant decides to buy the house, the mortgage payments for the property will go to the council to allow them to build new houses or renovate existing ones for new owners. This means people living in council houses are more likely to care for them as they are given the possibility of owning it in the future.
Expand the help to buy scheme. The help to buy scheme helps people buying a property for the first time financially by allowing first time buyers of new houses to borrow money from the government alongside a traditional mortgage. The main aim would be to increase the loans available to house buyers from the government.
New houses should have proper insulation. This would require new houses to follow passive-house standards which means houses are insulated to keep them at a stable temperature. This both makes houses more energy efficient and reduces heating bills.
Support new garden cities. Alongside new houses being built in existing towns, cities and villages, new settlements should be garden cities. These give residents more natural space and reduce the overcrowding of houses. Garden cities should be built on greenfield sites to ensure this land is used effectively whilst allowing some of the area to grow back to its natural state.
For any housing built, there needs to be sufficient infrastructure. For new houses to be built, first there must be the infrastructure to support the people moving in. This means that if there aren’t enough school places, hospital beds or other public services in place, new infrastructure must be built to ensure existing residents don’t see their access to services decrease as a result of extra housing.
Copy Finland’s ‘housing first’ scheme. This should be based on Finland’s success in tackling the number of homeless people on its streets. The UK’s current model relies on temporary accommodation and essentially taking steps towards getting a new house. We would copy Finland’s ‘Housing First’ scheme which instead focuses on getting people a house as soon as possible rather than just temporary accommodation. This would be backed up by support workers, a focus on lifelong education and addiction treatment so people leaving homelessness don’t return to being homeless. We also support expanding the existing housing first system by the Housing Executives Supporting People program in Northern Ireland.
A housing watchdog. The housing watchdog would receive and then investigate complaints against either tenants or landlords. It would also ensure collective bargaining agreements are negotiated and implemented properly.
- UK wide.
Collective bargaining between landlords and tenants. This would involve landlords and tenants negotiating the conditions for rented accommodation. This will be done using a new national framework for collective bargaining which would allow for negotiations on both an individual and a group level. These agreements would set out the tenancy agreement, the minimum standards that need to be upheld by both sides and the amount of money due and when it is due.