8 days out from Polling Day and several debates down, the Conservatives have maintained their sizeable lead across all polls.

As Sir John Curtice said, with the chances of a Labour-majority as close to zero as to effectively be zero, the binary choice at this election is between a majority Conservative Government or a coalition Government.

With the manifestos of the three main national parties now released, TFA takes a quick look at what they have said on Housing so far.

Conservative Party

The Prime Minister again complained about the practise of “land banking” by the big eight house builders and said that a Conservative majority Government would tackle these challenges and encourage more small developers to become involved in housebuilding.

The Prime Minister committed to building 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, extending the Help to Buy scheme from 2021 to 2023 and reviewing new ways to support home ownership following its completion.

The Manifesto, launched yesterday, promised to protect and enhance the Green Belt and continue to prioritise brownfield development for the regeneration of cities and towns.

As part of this commitment, the Conservative Party pledged to ask every community to decide on its own design standards for new development and said it will support environmentally friendly homes and will expect new streets to be lined with trees. This, they said, would support innovative housing design to make housing more affordable, accessible, and suitable for disabled people and an ageing population.

Other notable announcements included:

  • A commitment to implement and legislate for all reviews laid out in the Hackitt Review
  • Amending planning rules so that the infrastructure – roads, schools, GP surgeries – comes before people move into new homes. This will be done through a £10 billion Single Housing Infrastructure Fund
  • A promise to bring forward a Social Housing White Paper which will set out further measures to empower tenants and support the continued supply of social homes
  • A promise to make the planning system simpler for the public and small builders

Labour Party

The Labour Party released their manifesto with the standout housing announcement being the creation of a new Department for Housing, should they be able to form a majority Government.

The Party said that brownfield sites would be a priority for development in order to protect the Green Belt. This, they said, would provide an opportunity to deliver at least one million homes over the next decade, with a commitment to build at least 150,000 council and social homes a year, with 100,000 of these built by councils for social rent. As part of this election promise, local people would also be given priority on new homes built in their area.

Other notable announcements included:

  • Making Homes England a more accountable national housing agency
  • Giving councils more powers with housing, including new duty on councils to plan and build homes, with the funding coming from national government
  • A ‘use it or lose it’ tax would be introduced to limit the number of housing developments that stall
  • Affordable housing would be linked to local incomes
  • A review on the planning guidance for developments in flood risk areas
  • The creation of a new English Sovereign Land Trust, which can buy land cheaply to allow for more low-cost housing
  • An end to the conversion of office blocks to homes through ‘permitted development’ means

Liberal Democrat

The Liberal Democrats also launched their General Election Manifesto, unsurprisingly with Brexit at its heart.

They did, however, pledge to build 300,000 homes per year in order to meet current demand, with 100,000 homes for social rent each year paid for with £130billion from the Capital Infrastructure Fund.

Upon forming a majority Government, the Liberal Democrat’s would also declare an emergency ten-year programme to reduce energy consumption from all the UK’s buildings which they say will cut both emissions and fuel bills. As part of this initiative, planning regulations would require all new homes and non-domestic buildings to be built to a zero-carbon standard by 2021.

Other notable announcements included:

  • Reforming planning to ensure developers are required to provide essential local infrastructure from affordable homes to schools, surgeries and roads alongside new homes
  • Reform the planning systems to reduce the need to travel and promote cycling and walking
  • Amend planning rules to promote sustainable transport and land use