Public Consultation + Political Engagement

A meander through manifesto week: pledges for property to know

This week marked the half-way point in the 2024 General Election with the launch of election manifestos from Labour, the Conservatives, Lib Dems and Green parties. With Polling Day less than three weeks away, here are the key takeaways that could affect planning, property and development.

Labour

Launching its manifesto in Manchester, the Labour Party’s message is one of change. This single word adorns the front cover of the manifesto and racks up over 300 mentions across 142 pages. The manifesto uses quotations from business and industry experts to bolster the policy ambitions and pledges made. There are no big, new policies that we haven’t heard before. But Sir Keir Starmer pledges to “get Britain building again”, including by reform of the planning system.

Key pledges you need to know

  • Build 1.5m new homes over the course of the next Parliament including in New Towns
  • Maintain mortgage rates and support for first time buyers via a permanent and inclusive mortgage guarantee scheme
  • A Warm Homes Plan to invest an extra £6.6bn to improve energy efficiency in British homes
  • Reform the planning system by updating the NPPF to include mandatory housing targets, hire 300 new planners to “expediate decision-making” and prioritise the release of lower-quality ‘grey belt’ land
  • Unlock brownfield land with fast-track approvals for urban brownfield development
  • Increase social and affordable homes by enhancing obligations on new developments to include more affordable housing
  • Unleash elected mayors with enhanced powers over planning and housing investment, including a requirement for them to strategically plan for housing growth in their areas and new powers to extend bus franchising
  • End leasehold in England and Wales to be replaced by a commonhold system
  • Improve building safety through “strong measures” to enhance building safety regulations
  • Introduce a Renter’s Charter to prohibit Section 21 evictions and empower renters to challenge unreasonable rent increases
  • A Green Prosperity Plan to prioritise targeted investment in renewable energy alongside the create of GB Energy that will build “clean and cheap homegrown power for the British People”
  • A 10-year Industrial Strategy set by a new Industrial Strategy Council with regional development priorities
  • An Automotive Sector Plan  to accelerate the roll out of EV charge points
  • Overhaul the business rates system and replace it with a fully-funded business prosperity taxation system

Conservatives

The Conservative Party manifesto launch at Silverstone was meant to symbolise Rishi Sunak’s “clear plan” to deliver “bold action” and a “secure future”. But the manifesto itself could be labelled ‘same old Sunak’ without the more radical tax cuts and reforms that many in the parliamentary Conservative Party would like to see. The manifesto says the Conservatives will “build more homes in the right places” alongside “a plan for a secure, dynamic and growing economy”.

Key pledges you need to know

  • Ease business rates for High Street, leisure and hospitality businesses by increasing the multiplier on distribution warehouses
  • Permanently abolish Stamp Duty for first-time buyers on homes up to £425,000
  • A fast-track planning route for homes on brownfield land
  • Deliver 1.6m “well-designed homes” in the right places, whilst protecting the countryside with a Homes England taskforce to invest in rural regeneration
  • Renew the Affordable Homes Programme
  • Temporary Capital Gains Tax relief for landlords selling to existing tenants for a two-year period
  • Renter’s Reform Bill to abolish Section 21 evictions
  • New gas-fired power stations alongside investment in renewables
  • Building new carbon capture and storage clusters across the North West, North Wales, Humber and Teesside
  • Scaling-up nuclear power including two new fleets of Small Modular Reactors within the first 100 days of the next Parliament and a new power plant at Wylfa in North Wales
  • Support for solar on brownfield sites and not prime agricultural land
  • Implementation of Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • Creation of more Freeports and Business Rates Retention Zones with £160m to stimulate local growth
  • Revitalise High Streets by planning reform
  • Extending Devolution so that every part of England has a devolution deal by 2030

Liberal Democrat

The Liberal Democrats are campaigning for a “Fair Deal” in this election and have put tackling the climate emergency as a central part of their policy platform.

Key pledges you need to know

  • Overhaul Capital Gains Tax to find extra investment into the NHS
  • Invest significantly in renewable power so that 90% of the UK’s electricity is generated from renewables by 2030
  • Removing restrictions on new solar and wind power
  • A Strategic Land & Sea Use Framework to cut the costs of access to the National Grid for new power generation
  • Increase housebuilding to 380,000 a year, including 150,000 social homes, through new garden cities and community-led development
  • Immediately requiring all new homes and non-domestic buildings to be built to a zero-carbon standard
  • Increasing biodiversity with a a higher biodiversity net gain requirement of up to 100% for large developments
  • Strengthened Renter’s Rights by banning no-fault evictions and making 3-year tenancies the default
  • A ten-year plan for rail electrification alongside a National Freight Strategy to move more goods from road to rail
  • More devolution from Westminster including a written constitution for a federal United Kingdom

Green Party

The Green Party are hoping to win more than the single seat won by the party in previous elections. But with the Greens sitting fourth in the opinion polls their “bold but simple plan” on public investment may not be enough to see them make much of an impact on Polling Day. The Green’s manifesto has echoes of Jeremy Corbyn’s 2019 manifesto, with plans to nationalise the water companies, railways and big-five energy companies alongside ambitious targets to deliver Net Zero “years ahead of other parties”.

Key pledges you need to know

  • Invest £40bn per year in the green economy
  • A carbon tax to drive fossil fuels out of the economy set initially at £120 per tonne
  • Reform of Capital Gains Tax to align the rates paid on income
  • Provide 150,000 new social homes a year and end Right to Buy
  • Require local authorities to spread small developments across their areas
  • Ensuring wind generates 70% of the UK’s electricity by 2030 with 80GW of offshore and 53GW of onshore generation

For more insights visit Cavendish’s 2024 General Election Hub.

It’s not too late to register to vote. Do it here by midnight on 18 June.

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