Tories pledge to boost home ownership in election manifesto

Image source, Getty Images

  • author, Paul Seddon
  • Role, Political reporter

Rishi Sunak has promised that the Conservative Party’s election manifesto will contain “transformational” policies to boost home ownership.

In an article for The Telegraph, the Prime Minister said his party would bring back a “new and improved” version of the Help to Buy scheme that ended in England last year.

He added that landlords would also not have to pay tax on profits when selling to tenants, giving them “the opportunity to own the home they live in”.

The party also confirmed it would continue with the current £425,000 limit before first-time buyers have to pay stamp duty on purchases.

This threshold, which applies in England and Northern Ireland, was raised in 2022 and is currently scheduled to expire in March next year.

Housing is a major issue in the general election, with parties vying to win the support of aspiring homeowners.

Opposition parties seized on Sunak’s admission during an interview with the BBC on Monday that it had become more difficult for people to own their own homes since the Conservatives came to power.

By unveiling his party’s election platform later, he will attempt to return to prominence through a series of measures aimed at “building an ownership society.”

This includes allowing first-time buyers to obtain a government loan of up to 20% to purchase a new property.

This scheme expires in March 2023 for England, although first-time buyers can still apply for such a loan in Wales.

‘Helping hand’

The revived scheme will run for three years, with developers contributing to the costs of equity loans and no interest on government loans for the first five years.

“This will be transformative for those who are on the verge of homeownership but need a helping hand to get there,” he added.

The exact eligibility criteria have not yet been confirmed, but The Times reports that the new scheme will be available for purchases worth less than £400,000. The previous scheme had a cap of £250,000, or £450,000 for properties in London.

Hundreds of thousands of people have bought through the scheme since it launched in 2013 – although… It has also been criticized Described as the “cocaine of the construction industry”, it is blamed for driving up house prices.

The Prime Minister also said that if re-elected, the Tories would scrap capital gains tax for landlords who sell their properties to existing tenants.

Landlords currently have to pay tax on the profits they make from selling, and Mr Sunak said the proposed tax break would “incentivize landlords to give renters the chance to own the home they live in”.

“It’s good for landlords and transformative for renters,” he wrote.

Details of the scheme have not been confirmed, although The Telegraph reported that the exemption would last for two years and was expected to cost the Treasury £20 million a year in lost revenue.

The Conservatives aim to build 300,000 new homes in England a year by the “mid-2020s”, which has not yet been achieved.

Labor has pledged a similar target of building 1.5 million homes over five years in England if elected. It promised radical plans to simplify the planning system, although details have yet to be announced.

Launching their manifesto on Monday, the Liberal Democrats pledged to build 380,000 new homes a year across the UK, including a set annual target of 150,000 social homes.

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