Last night saw the publication of the long awaited YouGov seat prediction for the upcoming general election, with the Conservatives set to gain an overall majority of 68 seats.
Whilst there are countless polls being undertaken at the moment, the same MRP model used by YouGov was the only one that came close to predicting the hung parliament result of 2017, even correctly forecasting unlikely gains for Labour in seats such as Kensington.
Of course, with two weeks to go anything can change as even YouGov suggests that a significant proportion of voters (25%) remain undecided.
With issues such as Brexit and the NHS marking the key battleground policies chosen by the Conservatives and Labour respectively, it is a shame that housing hasn’t come to the fore of the debate.
Labour is looking to bring in rent controls for the private sector, as well as introducing ‘open ended’ tenancies designed to give renters greater security in their homes. At the same time, foreign investors would see a further tax on purchasing UK property and councils would be given the funding and power to buy back homes from private landlords.
Interestingly, tenant ballots for estate regeneration schemes in London would be extended across the UK, with all social housing regeneration requiring the consent of tenants and being offered new properties on the same site and terms.
The Conservatives are promising that essential infrastructure such as GP surgeries and schools will be delivered before people move into new homes, as well as giving local communities the power to write design standards.
Councils will also be able to discount affordable rents for local people by up to 33% using developer contributions, as well as promising a new market in long-term fixed rate mortgages with reduced deposits. For renters, there will be an abolition of ‘no fault’ evictions and one ‘lifetime’ deposit which moves with tenants.
Of course, anything can happen between now and election day and we will need to wait a couple of weeks to get a much clearer idea of where these undecided voters have gone, but the most likely scenario at present remains a Conservative majority Government. However, anything is possible, and if the polls continue to narrow, we could see another hung Parliament, maybe even a Labour minority Government being supported by the SNP.
• At least one million new homes over the next five years
• Essential infrastructure such as GP surgeries and schools delivered before people move into new homes
• Local communities given power to write design standards
• Prioritise brownfield development, particularly for regeneration of towns and cities
• Simply the planning system for the public and small builders
• Support environmentally friendly homes
• Dedicated Department for Housing
• New English Sovereign Land Trust with powers to by land more cheaply for low-cost housing
• ‘use it or lose it’ taxes on stalled housing developments
• Brownfield sites priority for development and protect the green belt
• Net zero-carbon homes standard for all new homes and upgrade of millions of existing homes to make them more energy efficient.
• Restriction of permitted development rights to end the conversion of commercial properties for residential use
• Retrofit of existing homes for energy efficiency
• Bring forward a Social Housing White Paper
• Retain Right to Buy and extension of Help to Buy from 2021 to 2023
• Simplify shared ownership products with single standard for all housing associations
• Social house building programme of a million new homes over a decade, with 100,000 council and 50,000 housing association homes being built a year by the end of this parliament
• Ending Right to Buy and councils granted power and funding to buy back homes from private landlords
• Discount market affordable housing linked to local incomes rather than 80% of market rate
• Regeneration of social housing sites will require consent of tenants, with all existing residents offered new properties on the same site and terms
• Enable councils to discount affordable homes for local residents up to 33% using developer contributions
• Stamp duty 3% surcharge on non-UK residents buying property
• New market in long-term fixed rate mortgages with reduced deposits
• Implementing ban on sale of new leasehold homes and restricting ground rents to a peppercorn
• Build more low-cost homes reserved for first-time buyers in every area
• Tax on overseas investors purchasing UK property
• New powers for councils to tax properties empty for over a year
• End sale of new leasehold properties and abolish unfair fees and conditions
• Leaseholders able to purchase their freehold at a price they can afford
• Abolition of ‘no fault’ evictions
• Require one ‘lifetime’ deposit, which moves with the tenant
• Providing necessary mechanisms of redress for tenants
• Open-ended tenancies to prevent ‘no fault’ evictions
• Rent increases capped at inflation with cities given power to cap rents further
• New minimum standards enforced by nationwide licensing with tougher sanctions for landlords
• Fund new renters’ unions across the UK
• Powers for councils to regulate short-term lets offered by companies such as Airbnb
• End rough sleeping by the end of the next Parliament
• End rough sleeping within five years
• £1bn a year for councils’ homelessness services
• 8,000 additional homes for those with a history of rough sleeping
• Repeal Vagrancy Act
• Tax on UK holiday homes