With less than a month to go until the general election, housing policy has taken centre stage for all the major political parties. With nine million renters in the UK, the private rented sector is turning into a political battlefield.
David Cameron has announced the Tory plan to revive the Right to Buy scheme, extending it to all housing association tenants, pledging discounts of up to 70% to enable all 1.3 million families in housing association properties buy their home.
The Liberal Democrats vowed to build 300,000 more homes a year, and proposed a new ‘Help to Rent’ scheme that would support young workers to move out of the family home and into rented property by loaning up to £1,500 for cover tenancy deposits.
The Labour Party manifesto has confirmed their destructive commitment to three-year tenancies, the banning of letting agent fees, and imposing rent controls. They also intend to increase house building to 200,000 a year by 2020.
UKIP have pledged to bring 300,000 empty homes back into use, and have plans to ‘incentivise’ developers to build one million new homes on brownfield sites by 2025.
The polls, predictably, are all over the place. One shows the Tories with a six point lead over Labour, while another shows them neck-and-neck. UKIP are shown to be anywhere from 7% to 19%. However, it is a safe bet that David Cameron is comfortably ahead of Ed Miliband in the personal ratings.