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Build! Build! Build! (and other real estate election pledges)

24 April 2015 #Commercial Real Estate

Last week saw the launch of five of the main UK political party manifestos. Rarely read in detail by the voting public these tomes are often used to set out headline grabbing promises in the hope that they may sway the floating voter.

As you might expect manifestos frequently deal with the major issues that (the polls suggest) matter to the electorate and one of these is housing or rather the lack of it.

Predictably, each of the main parties pledged to build thousands of new homes but what else are they promising to deliver in the real estate sector?


200,000 new starter homes and a further 275,000 affordable homes by 2020.

Right to buy will be expanded with an expected 1.3 million housing association tenants being given the chance to purchase their homes.

The regeneration of brownfield sites with a £1 billion fund.

On infrastructure they will deliver both HS2 and HS3 rail links.

An increase in the Inheritance Tax allowance so that the total allowance for a couple will be £1 million.


200,000 new homes by 2020.

An improvement in business rates for 1.5 million small businesses.

A devolution of funding and power to local authorities and city regions.

The creation of a National Infrastructure Commission.

The expansion of rail links.

Make 3 year residential lettings the norm in the private rented sector and ban residential letting agents from charging fees to the tenants each time they sign a tenancy agreement.

Liberal Democrat

300,000 new homes by 2020.

New schemes to “help to rent” and “rent to own”.

A Housing Investment Bank to ‘simplify the allocation of public funds’ and improve access to the bond market and equity investment for social landlords.

Removal of the permitted development rights from office to residential.

Energy efficiency targets for buildings.

Priority given to town centre and brownfield developments.

Electrify the UK rail network on the major routes.

Ten new “Garden Cities” on the outskirts of the capital.


1,000,000 new homes on brownfield land by 2020.

A requirement for local authorities to ensure empty houses are used.

Removal of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which was initially introduced by the current government with the aim of simplifying the complex planning procedures in the UK.

The merger of the building control and planning departments in local authorities.

Scrapping stamp duty land tax on the first £250,000 where new homes are built on brownfield sites.


500,000 new social rented homes by 2020.

As with UKIP the scrapping of the NPPF.

Carbon plans to be implemented within local authorities, including emissions reduction targets.

A ban on fracking works.

Planned investment in HS2 to be reallocated in favour of local transport networks.

VAT to be reduced on housing renovations and repairs.

It is therefore clear that all parties are keen to increase the number of homes in the UK to satisfy the growing demand.

It is also apparent that they feel not enough is being done to develop brownfield sites and that the planning process needs to be further simplified to make property development happen more quickly. The property industry would agree that these are areas that need to be looked at more closely.

It also seems that the requirement to improve the infrastructure in the UK is something that the parties have picked up on and it will also be interesting to see what is revealed in the next few weeks in relation to the greatly needed but divisive plans for expansion of Heathrow and/or Gatwick in London.

In any event, with this election expected to be one of the closest on record it is likely that, in due course, some of these pledges will be adjusted to factor in the wishes of a coalition partner.

We therefore need to wait to see what happens on 7th

Clarkslegal, specialist Real Estate lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Real Estate matter please contact Clarkslegal's real estate team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
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Simon Ralphs

Simon Ralphs

T: 020 7539 8049
M: 0779 900 7323


Commercial Real Estate team
+44 (0)118 958 5321