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
You can view our summary of the Party Manifestos 2015
Links to manifestos