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Manifesto watch 28/11/2019 Labelled as Scrutiny, Legislation, Regulation

The major political parties in England have now published their election manifestos ahead of the General Election on 12 December. Regarding housing policy, as in the 2017 General Election, there is much common ground but also some significant differences.


  • All promise to increase the number of new homes built, although there are differences on the balance between private and social housing. All commit to reducing the environmental impact of new homes, with explicit commitments to move towards Passivhaus standards from all but the Conservatives. All include proposals aimed to enable longer and more secure private tenancies, including an end to no-fault evictions, and to strengthen the rights of social tenants. All pledge to end rough sleeping by the end of the next Parliament.
  • It is instructive to compare the pledges here with those included in the 2017 manifestos. Many remain much the same. However, there is a new emphasis on energy efficiency and environmental impact more generally. All the manifestos, for obvious reasons, either refer directly to the need to respond to the Grenfell tragedy or include proposals clearly motivated by that need.
  • The Labour and Green manifestos include explicit commitments to build more council homes - working towards 100,000 a year in both cases; the Liberal Democrats instead set a target for social housing, without differentiating between council and housing association homes. The Conservatives, while reaffirming their existing target of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, commit only to support the continued supply of social housing; there is no reference to Theresa May's previous commitment to deliver "a new generation of council housing".
  • Proposals for the Right to Buy differ sharply. Labour would move to end it and the Liberal Democrats devolve control to local councils, while the Conservatives pledge to continue it and introduce further pilots of the voluntary Right to Buy for housing association tenants.
  • The parties are also divided on rent controls in the private sector. The Conservatives do not mention them; Labour plans to cap increases to inflation, and the Greens make a similar proposal.
  • The Conservatives plan to continue the roll-out of Universal Credit, while doing more to ensure it works for the vulnerable. The Liberal Democrats would reform it; Labour would scrap it, while the Greens commit to its replacement with a Universal Basic Income.


ARCH Policy Adviser Matthew Warburton has produced a Briefing Paper for ARCH members, summarising the main proposals on housing with a focus on those with implications for stock-retained councils.


Read Matthew's Briefing Paper and links to the party manifestos.

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