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Party Manifestos for the Social Housing Sector: The General Election 2024

In light of the upcoming general election on 4 July 2024, political parties have unveiled their plans for the housing sector during the next parliament, and in particular their plans to tackle the social housing crisis.

We present a summary of the varying visions by parties ranging from house-building targets and reform, to planning, renting, energy efficiency and other matters.

Housing Supply

The main four parties have all pledged to delivering new homes within their individual strategies.

The Conservative Party has committed to delivering 1.6 million new homes during the next parliament, whilst the Labour Party promises “the biggest increase in social and affordable housebuilding in a generation”, prioritising the building of new social housing and 1.5 million new homes.

Concentrating on the Liberal Democrats manifesto, the Lib Dems have pledged to build 380,000 new homes a year, 150,000 of which will be social housing. One way in which they aim to do this by expanding Neighbourhood Planning across England.

The  Green Party are pushing for local authorities to work with the government. The Party has promised a ‘Right Homes, Right Place, Right Price Charter’ which will provide social housing whilst also offering environmental benefits such as protection of green spaces, reduction of emissions and tackling fuel poverty. Of note, they promise the building of 150,000 new social  homes per year, and to introduce a new right for tenant’s to demand energy efficiency improvements.


There are offers put forward for first-time buyers by the two major parties.

The first by the Conservative Party that has shown a commitment to increase the stamp duty threshold for first-time buyers from £300,000 to £425,00 permanently. The aim is to improve the affordability of homes that would result from the UK and developers building more housing. They further plan to introduce a two-year temporary Capital Gains Tax relief for landlords selling to their existing tenants. The proposal is a form of Help to Buy scheme that will be an appealing prospect for first-time buyers in enabling them to purchase their homes with the stamp duty cut.

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The second is from the Labour Party and is their focus on overseas homeownership by giving first-time buyers the chance to buy homes and prevent entire developments being sold to international investors. This includes a higher level of stamp duty for non-UK residents buying houses, in comparison to UK residents. They have further proposed to implement a permanent mortgage guarantee scheme that will support first-time buyers struggling to save a deposit and assist their house purchase. It is likely that the first-time buyers will welcome this additional mortgage support, especially given the difficulty of trying to save for a deposit.

Energy Efficiency & Decarbonisation

In light of the recent crisis around damp and mould, and rise in fuel prices,  energy efficiency and decarbonisation has been a big focus for each party.

Starting with the Conservative Party’s manifesto, they revealed their plan to launch an emergency Home Energy Upgrade programme to provide free insulation and heat pumps for low-income households. They will be providing incentives for installing said heat pumps to cover the real costs of keeping houses warm. This will directly tackle the concerns around damp in line with Awaab’s Law (our previous article on Awaab’s Law can be found here), while also being energy efficient by requiring all new homes and non-domestic buildings to be zero-carbon standard.

The Labour Party has also come in strong with their plan to invest £6.6 billion over the next parliament towards improving energy efficient in homes. Although less than what they previously aimed for, the investment will still be welcome by low-income households, especially with banks and building societies being brought in to accelerate home upgrades through private financing.

In its manifesto, the Green Party has pushed for a local-authority-led programme that will insulate homes and provide clean heat, adapting to the climate conditions. Their investment comes in the form of £29 billion over the next five years to raise EPC levels to a B rating or above and a further £13 billion (in five year increments) to insulate other buildings and introduce low-carbon heating systems. The Green Party are set to incorporate green building practices, which would fundamentally lower the carbon footprint.

Leasehold Reform

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024 received Royal Assent on 24 May 2024 as part of the final “wash-up” of legislation enacted before the last parliament was dissolved ahead of the election. However, most of the operative provisions will not come into effect until additional statutory instruments are implemented and these will ultimately be for the incoming government to decide.

In its manifesto, the Conservative party promises to continue the reform it began during the last parliament. The manifesto addresses the issue of ground rent, stating that ground rent will be capped at £250, and reduced to a peppercorn over time. The conservatives also promise to stop the “misuse” of forfeiture and make it easier to take up commonhold.

Labour remained strong in their stance that the “feudal leasehold system” should be bought to an end by making this an objective of its manifesto. Additionally, the manifesto confirmed that Labour will tackle the much debated topic of ground rent, however, it did not set a ground rent cap and therefore what this may be remains to be seen.

The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto is arguably the most leaseholder friendly, including promises to abolish residential leasehold, cap ground rent at a nominal value and ensure that leaseholders do not pay anything towards the removal on dangerous cladding from their homes.

Final comment

The parties respective manifestos clearly provide an overview of important housing related policies that each party would seek to implement. We will not know the outcome until 4 July, but regardless we will be keeping our clients and contacts updated on all developments within the social housing sector during the next parliament.

If you have any question in the meantime please do reach out to John Murray or any other member of the Social Housing team

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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