What we should have heard from our PM – Housing
We need to deliver prosperity to make the UK the country that gives its entire people, irrespective of their race, creed, or sexual orientation, the opportunity they need and deserve. Many people feel that they haven’t seen their wages rise. Too many people, especially young people feel they will never have a home to call their own. We need to demonstrate that the free market works and that Corbyn’s money trees do not exist. Our students emerge from Universities weighted down with debt and then watch the price of houses soar even further out of reach.
People are happiest, healthiest and most prosperous when they have a home of their own.
Successive Governments have failed to meet the housing needs of an increasing population. Of the 140,000 homes due to be built this year, 80,000 will be absorbed by population growth, exacerbated by immigration, so at best only 60,000 will begin to address the current chronic shortage.
When we leave the EU, we will regain control of the regional development budget, over £1 billion a year. We will use some of this to boost capacity in UK-based modular homes manufacturing. We will enable the manufacture of modular homes where jobs are needed, and they will be built where homes are needed.
We will establish a Housing Development Corporation (HDC) to acquire primarily brownfield sites – at existing use value and through compulsory purchase if necessary – where affordable housing is required. Planning law will be changed to enable the HDC to give themselves planning permission to build between 10 and 100 FBM homes on an average site. Homes constructed will be sold on a freehold basis to first time buyers up to the age of 40 who are British citizens and who have a 10 per cent deposit. We anticipate the total cost for a two-bedroom house will be under £100,000, including land purchase and restoration, construction, infrastructure and a contribution to the costs of the HDC. Utilities installation would be covered by a 1per cent energy bill levy, and Stamp Duty would not be applied. This will bring up to 100,000 extra truly affordable homes onto the market every year. Combined with a traditional home building programme, we will build another one million homes by 2022. In addition, the FBM model would also make it feasible to deliver substantial numbers of new Council houses that have been promised, while traditional methods do not.
As this scheme is a stepping stone from the rental sector to traditional home ownership, to address the current housing crisis, it must not distort the existing property market. So, homes will be for owner occupation, not private rental. Owners will not be able to sell them on the open market, but must sell them back to the HDC at a guaranteed price of cost plus inflation over the period of ownership. Ownership can, however, be retained indefinitely.
This modular home scheme provides: • High quality homes with security of tenure, where they are needed • A way for the next generation to build up equity and move into the traditional home owner market • A realistic way of building homes that is not constrained by the current skills shortage in the construction industry
We will change the planning rules to make it easier to build and harder to hoard land. We will do it by auditing all State owned land and making as much as possible of it open to development, except for areas of natural beauty and re-invest profits in further house building. We will also plough all revenue raised from Right to Buy sales into community housing and change the law to allow mortgages to become inheritable, as they are in other countries.
We will conduct a review of housing associations
Housing associations are accountable neither to taxpayers, who provide much of their funding, nor to their own tenants. A recent investigation into the largest 50 housing associations uncovered a catalogue of failures. They are not building as many homes as private developers, the homes they do build cost more to put up, and they are failing to tackle anti-social behaviour. Average salaries for chief executives reach 51 times their tenants’ rent: one CEO is paid three times as much as the Prime Minister. Housing associations manage 60 per cent of the socially rented sector and have received £23 billion of Government funding in the past 14 years. We will launch a review into their operation.
We will end uncontrolled mass immigration into our country and manage the demand for housing with a points based immigration policy. By ending free movement of people we will have less competition for low-skilled jobs and the chance for the wages and living standards of the lowest paid to rise for the first time in 15 years, offering many people the opportunity to enter the property ladder.
The House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs (July 2016), concluded that 300,000 new homes would be needed annually in the UK. We will therefore need to build one home every four minutes to house future migrants and their children. The Government has committed to building one million new homes across the UK by 2020, which the House of Lords Committee said ‘will not be enough’.
The UK’s housing shortage has a huge impact on people’s lives. High housing costs in many parts of the country take a large portion of their income. The English Housing Survey found that 43% of income is spent on housing costs amongst those in the private rental market. For some young people the high cost of renting means that they have to spend longer living in house shares or with their parents and some families are forced to live in overcrowded conditions or move away from their local area to find suitable accommodation that they can afford.
Those living in the parts of the UK with lower housing costs cannot afford to move for work leaving them trapped in areas with fewer opportunities. The social housing sector, which provides accommodation at below market rents, is overwhelmed. Very large waiting lists (1.24 million people were on the social housing waiting list in 2015 in England alone) mean that only those deemed most in need will ever get allocated a social home.
One way of measuring the impact of immigration on housing is to look at the additional number of households formed that are headed by an immigrant. There is wide variation in the size of immigrant households but, on average, household size tends to be greater and they are also more likely to live in overcrowded conditions. So, person for person, immigrants have required less housing than the UK born. Official Labour Force Survey data shows that over the last ten years 90% of the additional households created in England were headed by a person born outside the UK and, in London in the last ten years, all of the additional households have been headed up by someone born overseas.
I am indebted to MigrationWatch UK for their data in relation to the impact uncontrolled immigration has on our housing crisis and to UKIP’s Manifesto policies for their innovative proposals outlined in this article. Hopefully no-one will realise we have stolen these commonsense ideas from UKIP who are the only party offering hope, aspiration and ambition for the future as we rebuild an Independent UK.
Stephen Crosby – UKIP Mansfield – Chairman