Home ownership has become an increasingly impossible dream for many, and we now pay several times as much of our income on housing costs as previous generations did. Housebuilding has largely kept pace with population growth over recent years; the real source of the housing crisis is madly irresponsible financial reforms which have caused prices to skyrocket over the past couple of decades, pricing first time buyers out of the market and turning homes into financial assets above all else: in this sense it is part of the wider culture of monetisation and debt, which governments have pursued regardless of the social consequences. We are the only party that proposes tackling this through serious financial reform, rather than building huge supplies of housing stock in an attempt to deflate prices.
Require Mortgage Lending to be Backed by Liquid Assets
Since 1981, banks have been able to create mortgages without backing them up with any liquid assets; in effect creating new money as a debt by typing a few digits on a keyboard. This madly irresponsible system has caused house prices to skyrocket since the 80’s; we would restore financial responsibility and demand banks have liquid assets to back up any new mortgage agreements they put in place.
Rebuild the Council Housing Stock
Instead of subsidising private landlords through Housing Benefit, we would rebuild a supply of council houses to meet the needs of those priced out the housing market. We would seek to restore council house numbers to their pre-Right to Buy level of 6.5 million; more than three times the existing stock.
Reinstate Reasonable Rent Controls
These were maintained by Labour, Conservative and Liberal governments for most the last century and served important roles in maintaining the integrity and security of families and communities. The current chaotic system needs regulation, with better financial and legal protections for renters.
Scrap Non-Dom Tax Breaks
The UK’s housing bubble is driven in part by the impact of the world’s rich who have driven up house prices in London to astronomical levels, which have filtered into the rest of the country. We would end non-dom tax status which allows the world’s elite to treat our country like a playground; they price the British people out of the housing ladder without even contributing much tax as they earn all their income abroad.
Extend Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs)
We would make it easier for local authorities to bring back empty homes into use through EDMOs, which allow them to requisition and rent out properties that have been empty for two years and are causing a nuisance. We would also reduce the criteria to one year and remove the nuisance requirement.
Focus Building on Brownfield Sites
We would cut red tape and provide tax breaks to make is easier to build on brownfield sites, which would provide housing which is handy for work, schools and other facilities, while also protecting our green belt from urban expansion.
Stop the Sale of Homes to Pay for Elderly Care
We would ensure that no elderly person has to sell their home to cover the costs of care.
Protect Rural Communities
Too many rural communities have suffered when properties become holiday homes for wealthy people in the cities, pushing up prices in rural areas and depriving rural communities of the economic activity and community cohesion that permanent residents bring. This is a UK-wide phenomenon but has been particularly acute in the Scottish Highlands & Islands. We would introduce a separate, increased rate of council tax for second homes, give local authorities the power to designate properties that can only be purchased for permanent residency, and ensure that the integrity of rural communities is protected.