Labour's focus on housing is good news for Central Devon.
Here, where there are high house prices and low wage levels, it is more difficult for people to buy their own home than in most places in Britain. That would be bad enough, but there are so few alternatives; the number of affordable homes built under the coalition Government has been way too low, and private rented housing is generally expensive and poor quality.
A Labour Government has an ambitious plan to make this better - and the plan is deliverable.
This means more households in Central Devon will find a decent place to live under a Labour Government
We make no apologies for including details here, so you can compare Labour's pledges with the Tory's proposal to sell off Housing Association homes....
Labour pledges to put first time buyers first by giving them first call on new homes built and zero stamp duty.
Not enough houses are being built, locking working families out of home ownership
Across the country, less than half the number of homes we need to keep up with demand are being built
This housing shortage is making home ownership unaffordable, with the average house price now 8 times the average wage (and more than ten times in parts of Central Devon)
The age of the average first time buyer has increased to 33 years
There are over 3 million 20 -34 year olds living with their parents and 11 million people are now renting
Buy to let landlords and cash buyers are snapping up twice as many properties as first time buyers
Over a third of properties in central London have been bought by overseas buyers
The Tories’ plan is failing because they don’t understand that to solve the housing crisis you need to build more homes
The Government has presided over the lowest levels of housebuilding in peacetime since the 1920s
Home ownership has declined to its lowest level in 30 years
They are planning the lowest affordable housing investment for 14 years
Labour has a better plan for housing – offering homes to buy and action on rent by:
Putting first time buyers first with first call on up to half of the homes built
Offering zero stamp duty for first time buyers on properties up to £300,000
Delivering the biggest house building programme for a generation with a
million new homes started
Stopping developers sitting on land with new use it or lose it powers
Increasing affordable housing year on year
Giving 3 year tenancies with rent rises capped by inflation to every renter that
1. Put first time buyers first
There are now over 200,000 fewer homeowners than there were in 2010.
First Call: First time buyers that have lived in an area for more than 3 years will have
first call on up to half of all the homes built in their area. Councils will have the power
to give priority access to a share of the homes built for local first time buyers as a
Local First: We will call time on foreign buyers buying up properties before first time
buyers get a look in. We will make it illegal to advertise properties abroad before
doing so at home. We will charge higher stamp duty (an additional 3%) on properties
that are bought by non-EU overseas buyers. We will allow local councils to charge
100% more council tax on any homes that have been left empty for one year to
discourage “buy to leave” - where speculators buy up homes only to leave them
Help with Buying: Labour will offer zero stamp duty to first time buyers so that they
can put this money towards their deposit. This will apply to all homes under £300,000
– benefiting around 9 in 10 first time buyers up to a maximum of £5,000. This will
cost just under £225 million a year for the first three years of the next Labour
government, fully-funded by:
Tackling tax avoidance by landlords, which HMRC have calculated costs over
£550m each year. The introduction of our National Register of Landlords will
mean this can be properly tackled, and we are setting a target of reducing it
by at least 20 per cent – raising over £100m.
Increasing the tax paid by holding companies that buy UK property on behalf
of investors (Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings) and increasing stamp duty
on foreign buyers from outside the EU by 3 per cent.
Cutting tax relief that rogue landlords get for repairs and upkeep when the
properties they own are not up to the required standard.
2. Biggest house building programme in a generation – ‘Use it or lose it’
The country is in the midst of the biggest housing crisis in a generation. We
need to build 245,000 homes a year but we are building less than half of this.
David Cameron doesn’t understand that you can’t solve the housing crisis
without building more homes. That’s why he has presided over the lowest
level of housebuilding since the 1920s.
Part of the problem is that not enough land is being released to build homes
on. Yet developers are banking rather than building on land. Developers hold
enough land in their current landbanks that has been on hold for at least 4
years, to build 400,000 homes. Under our current system there is very little
that local authorities can do about this.
Labour will deliver the biggest house building programme in a generation. We
will get a million new homes started so that we can deliver our goal of
200,000 homes built a year by 2020. We will reform the housing market, back
small builders, get the public sector building again and build new garden
We will also give councils new ‘use it or lose it’ powers. If developers bank
land for more than 5 years, councils will have new powers to charge
developers council tax on proposed homes for every extra month they sit on
3. Increasing affordable housing year on year
The numbers of affordable homes built for low income families have fallen every year
since 2010 and requirements on developers to build affordable homes through
section 106 have been completely watered down under the Tories.
We will reverse the Tory changes to national planning policy that watered down
affordable housing obligations to get developers building more affordable homes.
And we will prioritise capital investment in housing to invest in more affordable
4. Three year tenancies, rent rises capped at CPI and a ban on letting fees
There are now 11 million people renting in the private rented sector. Many of these
are forced to rent for years and want the same security and stability they would have
if they owned a home. But instead they are faced with an insecure market with short
term tenancies and unpredictable rents. The average rent has risen by £1200 since
2010, making renting the most expensive tenure. At the same time renters are being
hit by rip-off fees from letting agents, costing up to £500 every time they move house.
Labour will put forward legislation in the first Queen’s Speech to make 3 year
tenancies the rule by 2017. To ensure renters get the best possible deal at the start
of their contract, we will put a legal requirement on landlords and letting agents to
disclose how much rent was paid by the previous tenant. And then once the initial
rent has been set, we will cap rent rises to stop excessive hikes. Rents can go down,
stay the same or go up, but they won’t be able to rise by more than CPI each year.
We will also ban letting agents from charging tenants fees, saving the average renter
£625 over the parliament.