Our Ideas Updates

Updated Apr 2014

Housing

We believe

Britain needs many more homes to meet current and future demand

Without substantial new building, homes will get even more expensive and our economy will be held back.

The amount government pays in housing benefit is large and growing, as the stock of social housing declines and the cost of renting increases. At the same time, the amount invested in the construction of new housing is falling. This leaves more and more people reliant on less secure, more expensive private rented accommodation.

We believe

we need to turn 'benefits into bricks', to shift public spending over time away from subsiding rents and into building homes

How can we build more homes in Britain?

There is a big discrepancy between how little Britain is spending on new homes and how much it is spending on housing benefit. Rebalancing these numbers would help to ease the UK's housing crisis.

Endorsed by Labour, June 2013

Endorsed by London mayor Boris Johnson, May 2013

The housing market varies greatly from one place to another.

We believe

local authorities should have the power and money to meet local needs, including stimulating local development

READ MORE: Together at home: A new strategy for housing

We propose

establishing an Affordable Housing Fund, through which local authorities would make decisions on both housing benefit payments and housebuilding investments to suit local conditions

By shaping the housing market around local demand, the Affordable Housing Fund can create a virtuous cycle of additional housebuilding and reduced benefit spending, incentivising investment and encouraging citizens and local authorities to find solutions to local concerns.

To enable large-scale housebuilding

we should plan for new towns, especially in the south east of England, where housing demand is high

Endorsed by Coalition government, Jan 2014

Developers and landowners should be encouraged to bring forward land for development and to ensure that building starts quickly once planning permission has been granted.

Adopted by Labour, Sep 2013

We believe

local authorities should think creatively about how they use their land to drive higher-quality, more efficient construction that serves the public interest

For example, they might make greater use of compulsory purchase power or penalise developers who sit on 'land banks'.

READ MORE: We must fix it: Delivering reform of the building sector to meet the UK's housing and economic challenges

It is also vital that we shape neighbourhoods that are good places for people to live and put down roots. This means improving the quality of housing stock and the physical environment, increasing the stability of rental tenancies, and giving local people more power over how their neighbourhood is governed.

READ MORE: Love thy neighbourhood: People and place in social reform

We believe

local authorities should be empowered to improve the quality of places, with a particular focus on the responsibilities of landlords in the private rental sector

We spend £9.3 billion in housing benefits paid directly to private landlords who do little to improve the poorest-quality housing. This is a not the best use of public money. Councils should look to make 'deals' with private landlords and form Community Housing Agencies to drive quality improvements and control overall housing costs

Improving security of tenancy should include a 'family tenancy' option, with a longer tenure and notice periods, aimed at helping families to maintain stability in work and schooling.

READ MORE: Back to Rising Damp? Addressing housing quality in the private rented sector

Access to affordable housing, both to rent and to own, is a particular issue for young people.

We believe

specific measures are required to support young people into housing, such as an opportunity to build up equity by overpaying rent

READ MORE: No place to call home: The social impacts of housing undersupply on young people

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