Thursday 21 November 2019 10:22 am

General Election 2019: Conservatives go head-to-head with Labour on housing

The Conservatives are hoping to take Labour head-on with a series of pledges designed to tackle the housing crisis.

Jeremy Corbyn will today unveil a flagship policy that includes plans 100,000 council homes a year by the end of the five-year term, an increase of more than 3,500 per cent.

Read more: Sadiq Khan to miss his affordable housing target for second straight quarter

On top of this Labour will pledge to build at least 50,000 “genuinely affordable” homes each year, and at least 150,000 new council and social homes a year within five years. The party claims this is the biggest council housebuilding programme the Second World War, and the biggest overall affordable housebuilding programme since the 1960s.

Looking to neuter this, the Tories will also announce a number of policies alongside their million homes pledge, which includes an overhaul of the planning system.

Conservatives say they would not use public money to build the houses, instead using policies designed to encourage the private sector to build more.

But one eye-catching pledge will see a Boris Johnson government introduce a new mortgage with long-term fixed rates, with only a five per cent deposit, to help renters buy their first homes.

The Tories will also create a scheme where local first-time buyers will be able to get a 30 per cent discount on new homes in their area.

Plans to tinker with the mortgage market has raised eyebrows among some commentators.

Torsten Bell, chief executive of Resolution Foundation, said: “It’s a massive deal if they’re overruling the Bank of England on regulation OR getting on the nationalisation bandwagon with state-backed mortgages.”

He pointed to “the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac joys” during the sub-prime mortgage collapse in the US.

Main image: Getty

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