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Keir Starmer Labour Property Manifesto

Labour’s Property Manifesto Pledge – Hit Or Miss?

09.07.24

In power for just a day and all eyes are beadily on Starmer's femme fatale cabinet and the party's initial manifesto pledges for the housing industry. With a myriad of challenges - it’s vital that current issues are acknowledged and addressed head on - across the next parliamentary term.

Sustainable housing is the foundation for both a strong economy and thriving communities across the UK, and this must play a key priority within any government strategy from day one. Robust cross-party cooperation that sets the foundation for long-term positive progression regarding housing and far beyond, is a must for the next five-year term of government.

Clear stakeholder engagement is further required at all levels, to help navigate a clear pathway regarding housing and one that provides powerful insight, practical steer, and overall headway.

For a healthy housing sector there must also be consistent support for first time buyers to help ensure home ownership is a prospect that's always within reach for those who choose it. There has to be clear thinking on energy efficiency too, to ensure the UK is a leading force on decarbonisation into the next decade.

As for the rental market, while Labour plans to introduce the Rental Charter to provide tenants with more protections, there's a pent-up need for specific policies to address the acute shortage of adequate housing stock. Urgent measures to support the supply of long-term rental properties are necessary, as many landlords have left, or are leaving, the market due to stringent requirements and costs. This shortage is exacerbating issues of unaffordability and unsustainable rental growth. To incentivise landlords, the new government has to consider implementing tax relief for buy-to-let (BTL) mortgage holders and mortgage interest costs. This move would align BTL mortgage holders with other businesses benefiting from tax relief in the UK.

In summary- the UK has suffered a chronic undersupply of sustainable new homes for many decades and any new policies to increase housing supply must come with full disclosure on how and when developments will be delivered. This under supply of housing has pushed prices up for both homeowners and renters, and a plan is vital to ensure supply keeps pace with real world demand.

Across the next ten years, it's expected that the UK population will grow to around 70 million people - cue a clear and present danger need for a diverse mix of housing solutions. Key aspects must include careful consideration to ensure all new housing is logically implemented in targeted regions and wherever possible, to protect greenbelt areas.

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