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Election manifesto round-up: What we know so far

Election manifesto round-up: What we know so far
Anna Sagar
Written By:
Anna Sagar

The major political parties outlined their manifestos earlier this month, with everything from stamp duty reform and National Insurance cuts to building targets and care reforms suggested.

Reactions to the various manifesto pledges were mixed, with promises to reform the housing sector welcomed, but doubts remain as to how long-term and sustainable such pledges are.

Here’s a round-up of the manifestos from the major political parties and their key pledges.

Conservatives pledge tax cuts

At the home of the British Grand Prix, Silverstone, on Thursday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak launched the Conservative manifesto.

Among the pledges was making the temporary change to first-time buyer relief, launched in 2022, to £425,000 permanent, as well as confirming that the ‘triple lock plus’ policy would be introduced for pensioners.

A National Insurance cut was also a highlight of the manifesto, as the party pledged to drop payments by 2p. This goes even further than the party’s Spring Budget announcement, in which Chancellor Jeremy Hunt reduced National Insurance from 10% to 8%.

Alongside this, self-employed workers would see their National Insurance payments abolished under a Tory Government, but only “when it is economically responsible to do so”, according to Sunak.

The manifesto also stated it would bring out a new and improved Help to Buy scheme, offer capital gains tax (CGT) relief to landlords if they sell properties to tenants, build 1.6 million homes, continue the Mortgage Guarantee scheme, protect Right to Buy discounts and carry on with rental reform.

Experts said that many of the housing-focused measures would be helpful for the sector, but said further detail would be needed and that it may be a little too late.

Labour focus on ‘economic stability’

Labour, who launched their manifesto in Manchester on Thursday, foregrounded “economic stability”, with no major tax changes announced. Leader Sir Keir Starmer also confirmed the publicly owned Great British Energy policy, which aims to reform the energy market and reduce energy bills for UK households.

And unlike the Tories’ commitment to the pension ‘triple lock plus’, Labour plan to keep the triple lock as it is. The party will also keep National Insurance contributions (NICs), income tax across all bands and VAT the same.

Labour also said they would build one-and-a-half million new homes over the next parliamentary period if elected, and this would be done on used land and brownfield sites.

The party added that it would embark on planning reform and increase the rate of stamp duty for non-UK residents.

Labour also pledged to strengthen planning obligations for social and affordable housing, give first-time buyers first dibs on properties, make the Mortgage Guarantee scheme permanent and tackle rental reform.

Experts said that the manifesto measures would be broadly welcomed in the mortgage and property sector as long as Labour kept their promises.

Liberal Democrats commit to care reforms

For the Liberal Democrats, who kicked off manifesto week, as it were, “responsible management of public finances” was the key message. This included “radical” new changes to self-employment that would impact contractors, freelancers and self-employed workers, plus an income tax cut.

Party leader Ed Davey also promised his party would “fight for carers every day” as he introduced reforms to “fix the care crisis”, as well as boosts for childcare and maternity and paternity pay.

The Lib Dems pledged to build 380,000 homes per year across the UK, including 150,000 social homes.

The party also pledged rental reform, including banning no-fault evictions, making three-year tenancies the default and creating a national register for landlords.

Giving local authorities the power to end Right to Buy in their area, ending rough sleeping, abolishing leasehold and capping ground rent and launching a Rent to Own model for social housing were also outlined.

Greens target National Insurance rise

The Green Party brought out an ‘Our Right Homes, Right Place, Right Price’ charter, which intends to protect the environment, limit climate change, reduce fuel poverty and increase affordable housing.

It plans to raise NICs and tax multi-millionaires to “create a fairer society” and to inject the funds back into public services, which it said are “crying out for investment”.

As expected, the party’s housing measures prioritise sustainability, and it said it would invest £29bn over the five years to retrofit homes to EPC B or above as part of a 10-year programme.

Other key housing measures include abolishing Right to Buy and rental reform measures to push for rent control, stable rental tenancies and an end to no-fault evictions.