In this week’s article, I’ll be taking a look at what Jo Swinson’s Liberal Democrats’ manifesto means for the Tameside property market.
- Affordable Housing
- The Rental Sector
With political campaigning in full swing in the borough to re-shape the nation, I want to take an opportunity to break down the views of each political party and what their manifestos mean for the Tameside property market; as well as its homeowners, renters, landlords and the homeless.
As it stands with recent elections over the past decade, the Liberal Democrats have never been able to match the voting numbers of Labour and the Conservatives in Tameside. They are however in this election playing a crucial role in potentially having the seats needed to make a majority government, in the event they form a coalition (as seen in 2010). In this circumstance, there is every chance that some elements of their manifesto spill out onto the Tameside property market.
As with the other parties seeking out the seats in Tameside, the Lib Dems have acknowledged the need to create and sustain the production of new, affordable housing across the borough. They have promised to begin by building at least 100,000 social rent homes annually, ensuring that a total house building figure of 300,00 per annum is met. Their intended funding for such a development is sourced through the £130 billion capital infrastructure budget.
In their bid to battle the environment crisis, each new house (across Tameside and indeed the rest of the UK) would be built under the Lib Dems to zero-carbon standards to cut fuel bills through a ten-year programme, intending to reduce energy consumption from every single building in the UK.
The party have also promised to devolve full control of the Right to Buy scheme in the borough to Tameside council
There’s no doubting that a main priority for Tamesider’s is a roof over their heads; whether that be through owning their own home or renting one of the many offered by Tameside’s landlords and letting agents. As homeownership has continued to spiral further out of the affordability to many Tamesiders, the borough has seen a sturdy growth in its rental market.
The Lib Dems are promising to help people who cannot afford a deposit by introducing a new Rent to Own model for social housing; where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning it outright after 30 years. Furthermore, they intend to allow Tameside council to increase council tax by up to 500 per cent where homes are being bought as second homes with a stamp duty surcharge on overseas residents and investors purchasing such properties.
The Rental Sector
As is the case with other parties, the Lib Dems want to crack down on rogue landlords; particularly through mandatory licensing. Licensing is already in place in Tameside when it comes to landlords owning and letting houses of multiple occupation, but this legislation would see every landlord impacted even for standard let properties.
The Lib Dems have also vowed to introduce a new Help to Rent scheme; helping young people into the rental market with government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time renters under 30. In addition, they also wish to promote longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built in, to give tenants security and limit rent hikes.
When it comes to social renting, the Lib Dems are championing tenant panels in order to give Tameside tenants a voice in landlord governance. Any and all regulations intended to protect social renters have been promised to be proactively enforced under a Swinson tenure in Downing Street, with complaints being required to be dealt with in a timely manner. Clearer standards for socially rented homes have also been promised.
The Lib Dems are promising to ensure sufficient financial resources for Tameside council in order to deliver the Homelessness Reduction Act and provide accommodation for rough sleepers and survivors of domestic abuse.
With homelessness posing an issue in many of Tameside’s town centres, the Lib Dems have further vowed to ensure all homeless people on Tameside’s streets aren’t made to be criminals; redacting the Vagrancy Act to officially pose the stance of homeless and rough sleeping away from being criminalised.
Whilst there are no doubts that Brexit has a dominating factor over this election, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all Tamesiders (and those of you outside the borough who remain interested in our property market) to think as openly as possible when it comes to putting that X on paper next month. There are so many more considerations to take outside of our EU position, with housing being a huge element of that. As our population continues to soar on a borough basis year-on-year, both concerns with homeownership and also the private rental sector need to be met by whoever finds themselves in Downing Street on Friday 13th December.