2017 General Election manifestos
With the General Election on 8th June 2017 fast approaching, we have had a look at the main parties' manifestos and extracted the key points and proposals that relate to construction, infrastructure and the built environment.
- Plant 1 million more trees in towns and cities.
- Review the design of government buildings, to ensure they make a positive contribution to the local area.
- Maintain existing protections on designated land such as the green belt, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
- Reform compulsory purchase orders to make them easier and less expensive for councils to use, and make it easier to determine the true market value of sites.
- Continue the £2.5 billion flood defence programme.
- Meet the 2015 commitment to deliver a million homes by the end of 2020 and deliver half a million more by the end of 2022 (including 160,000 on government-owned land).
- Deliver the reforms proposed in the Housing White Paper to free up more land for new homes, speed up build-out by encouraging modern methods of construction, and give councils powers to intervene where developers do not act on planning permissions.
- Support high-quality, high-density housing such as mansion blocks, mews houses and terraced streets.
- Enter into new council housing deals with local authorities to help them build more social housing, providing them with significant low-cost capital funding.
- Build new fixed-term social houses, to be sold privately after 10-15 years with an automatic right to buy for tenants, the proceeds of which will be recycled into more new homes.
- Give greater flexibility to housing associations to increase their housing stock.
 Industrial strategy
- Encourage and promote the use of shale gas fracking.
- A new £23 billion National Productivity Investment Fund targeted at housing, research and development, economic infrastructure and skills. This will include; £740 million of digital infrastructure investment; 'The largest investment in railways since Victorian times'; £1.1 billion to improve local transport; £250 million in skills by the end of 2020.
- Complete the HS2 high-speed rail line from London through Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester, and then into Scotland.
- Build a new Brighton Main Line for the South East.
- Build Crossrail 2.
- Deliver rail electrification and expansion across the whole country.
- Deliver universal superfast broadband availability by 2022.
 Industrial strategy
- Ensure that 60% of the UK’s energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030.
- Ban shale gas fracking.
- Remove government restrictions that stop councils building homes.
- Invest to build more than a million new homes. By the end of the next Parliament, be building at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year for genuinely affordable rent or sale.
- Establish a new Department for Housing to focus on tackling the crisis.
- Overhaul the Homes and Communities Agency to become a housing delivery body, and give councils new powers to build the homes local communities need.
- Prioritise brownfield sites and protect the green belt.
- Start work on a new generation of New Towns to build homes and avoid urban sprawl.
- Insulate more homes.
- Consult on new rules on minimum space standards to prevent 'rabbit hutch’ properties and on new modern standards for building 'zero carbon homes’.
- Keep the Land Registry in public hands, and make ownership of land more transparent.
- Suspend the right-to-buy policy to protect affordable homes for local people, with councils only able to resume sales if they can prove they have a plan to replace homes sold like-for-like.
 Liberal Democrats
- £100 billion package of additional infrastructure investment.
- Install hyperfast, fibre-optic broadband across the UK.
- Significant investment in road and rail infrastructure, including continued commitment to HS2, Crossrail 2 and rail electrification.
- New direct spending on house building to help build 300,000 homes a year by 2022.
- £5 billion of initial capital for a new British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank, using public money to attract private investment for these priorities.
- Create at least 10 new garden cities in England.
- End the voluntary Right to Buy pilots that sell off housing association homes.
- Lift the borrowing cap on local authorities and increase the borrowing capacity of housing associations.
- Scrap exemptions on smaller housing development schemes from their obligation to provide affordable homes.
- Require local plans to take into account at least 15 years of future housing need.
- Create a community right of appeal where planning decisions go against the approved local plan.
Enable local authorities to:
- Levy up to 200% council tax on second homes and ‘buy to leave empty’ investments from overseas.
- Enforce housebuilding on unwanted public sector land.
- Penalise excessive land-banking when builders have failed to build after three years.
- End the Right to Buy if they choose.
- Ensure that four million properties receive insulation retrofits by 2022.
- Pass a new Green Buildings Act to set new energy-efficiency targets, including a long-term ambition for every home in England to reach at least an energy rating of B and C by 2035.
- Restore the zero-carbon standard for new homes, increasing the standard steadily and extending it to non-domestic buildings by 2022.
- Develop the skilled workforce with a major expansion of high-quality apprenticeships, including advanced apprenticeships, backed up with new sector-led national colleges.
 Scottish National Party
- £400 million to deliver superfast broadband to 95% of properties across Scotland by the end of 2017. Reach 100% by 2021.
- Invest more than £3 billion to deliver at least 50,000 new affordable houses, of which at least 35,000 will be houses for social rent.
- Introduce a Warm Homes Bill to help tackle fuel poverty.
- Continue to invest in Help to Buy and Shared Equity schemes, helping first time buyers onto the housing ladder.
- Not allow fracking or underground coal gasification in Scotland unless it can be proved beyond any doubt that it will not harm the environment, communities or public health.
 Plaid Cymru
- Invest £7.5 billion in Welsh Infrastructure.
- Re-open of the Carmarthen–Aberystwyth railway.
- Improved valleys train services.
- Improvements to the A55 in north Wales.
- The expansion of the Traws Cymru bus network.
- A commitment to making ultra-fast broadband available to all of Wales.
- Roll out 5G mobile signal nationwide.
- Increase energy generation from renewables.
- Deliver tidal lagoons in Swansea Bay, Cardiff and Colwyn Bay.
- Create an energy company to use profit from Welsh resources to cut the cost of energy for Welsh consumers.
 Green Party
- A major programme to build affordable, zero carbon homes, including 100,000 social rented homes each year by 2022.
- A public works programme of insulation.
- Investing in flood defences and natural flood management.
- Strong protection for the green belt, National Parks, SSSIs and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
- End mass council house sales and scrap Right to Buy at discounted prices.
- Bring empty homes back into use and trial a Land Value Tax to encourage the use of vacant land and reduce speculation.
- Help first-time buyers by aiming for house price stability - axe buy-to-let tax breaks, and back community-led approaches to building affordable homes.
- Require all councils to appropriately plan for the housing needs of deaf, disabled and older people.
- Invest in regional rail links and electrification of existing rail lines, rather than HS2.
- Invest in low-traffic neighbourhoods and safe, convenient networks of routes for walking and cycling.
- Access low interest government loans to buy and renovate poor housing stock or empty commercial properties, to create quality residential accommodation.
- Issue compulsory purchase orders for poor quality houses in multiple occupation.
- Establish a Housing Development Corporation to acquire primarily brownfield sites where affordable housing is required.
- Roll out 100,000 low-cost factory-built modular homes every year.
- Launch a review into the operations of housing associations.
- Scrap HS2.
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