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The ARCH annual report for 2015-16 is now available to view.

 

Download it here.

What are they saying about housing? 17/04/2015

ARCH briefing 10/2015

 

All the major parties have now published their manifestos for the General Election, and all of them include proposals with implications for ARCH members, as summarized in the table attached. There are few surprises, as most of the proposals reflect policy positions previously announced. The big exception is the Conservatives' plan to require councils to sell off 200,000 high-value homes as they become vacant and claw back the receipts to fund discounts for housing association tenants exercising their proposed new Right to Buy, together with a £1 billion brownfield redevelopment fund and one-for-one replacement of sold homes - but at affordable rents, on cheaper land and not necessarily in the same local authority area.

 

All include commitments to increase the supply of new homes - Labour and Lib Dems set overall targets without specifying what proportion should be for social rent, while the Greens and SNP take the opposite approach. The amount of detail specifying how these commitments will be achieved varies. The Conservatives rely - with the exception of the proposal to extend RTB and force council sales - on previously announced initiatives; Labour says it will implement the recommendations of the Lyons Review.

 

The Greens are the only party to support abolition of HRA debt caps. Labour's Lyons Review had previously come out in favour of arrangements for sharing headroom, although this is not specifically mentioned in its manifesto. The Lib Dems commit to "allow local authorities more flexibility to borrow to build". Plaid Cymru declare their support for the introduction of self-financing in Wales and would look at the potential for additional borrowing to deliver more social homes.

 

Conservative proposals to extend the Right to Buy contrast with the Greens' commitment to end discounts and SNP support for the ending of Right to Buy in Scotland, as is due to occur in 2016. The Lib Dems propose to devolve "full control" of RTB to councils. UKIP would restrict Right to Buy to British citizens. Labour is silent on the issue.

 

Labour, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and Greens all include proposals to help private tenants, including increasing the normal length of tenancies and limiting rent increases during a tenancy. The Lib Dems plan a loan scheme to help new tenants raise deposits.

 

All parties except the Conservatives and Lib Dems are pledged to scrap the bedroom tax.  The Lib Dems propose the reform the policy by exempting tenants in adapted property or who need an extra room for "genuine medical reasons" and would not restrict benefit until reasonable alternative accommodation had been offered. Labour, Greens and Plaid Cymru would review the arrangements for Universal Credit before proceeding with implementation. 

 

You can view our summary of the Party Manifestos 2015 here.

 

Links to manifestos

 

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