Conservative manifesto shows party ‘out of ideas’

By admin Jun12,2024

Simon Gerrard, managing director of Martyn Gerrard Estate Agents, responds to the Conservative Party’s manifesto

These proposals by the Conservatives are devoid of imagination and emblematic of a party that is completely out of ideas.

Last night the Prime Minister admitted that it has become harder for younger people to get onto the housing ladder. Despite this, his proposals today are rehashed policies that have so far failed to solve this crisis and will do nothing to solve the problem. 

Simon Gerrard

The overwhelming cause of our children having nowhere to live is the total dearth of new supply coming onto market. Pledging to build 1.6 million new homes is hardly reassuring after their abysmal failure to meet their previous housebuilding targets. 

They are also doubling down on protecting the greenbelt, which desperately needs to be unlocked for development given the skyrocketing population growth in London. Meanwhile, there is nothing included to solve the nightmare of planning which has decimated building in this country.

Reviving Help to Buy is a good idea – but it is ultimately meaningless if there are no homes to buy. Further, lowering the loan-to-value and purchase thresholds in London from £450,000 to £400,000 this time is perplexing given how much property prices have appreciated since the last scheme was launched. Offering watered-down, rehashed versions of previous policies is not going to solve the crisis we face.

The same goes for the pledge to permanently scrap stamp duty for first-time buyers of properties up to £425,000. This isn’t a bad idea, but it simply doesn’t go far enough. The stamp duty system in the country isn’t fit for purpose by preventing transactions, jamming the market and disincentivising older people from downsizing homes. If the Government reformed stamp duty to encourage downsizers, then there would be more properties suitable for young families on the market, which are also desperately needed. The tax needs a complete revamp not more tinkering around the sides.

Ultimately, we need serious political vision and genuinely radical reform if we are to fix housing in this country. The half-measures announced today won’t even slow the rate of deterioration.

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