General election 2024: Labour and the Conservatives’s plans to tackle the housing crisis in full

Labour and the Conservatives have now unveiled their plans for government and both have put home building at the heart of their plans to tackle the housing crisis.

While Sir Keir Starmer has emphasised the need for more affordable social homes and ending homelessness, Rishi Sunak has pledged a new Help to Buy scheme and new criteria for who gets to live in council housing.

Here is a run-down of what the main parties are offering voters:

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Labour have pledged to deliver the biggest increase in social and affordable housebuilding in a generation. This means a promise of 1.5 million new homes built over the next parliament.

This is slightly down on the 1.6 million homes the Conservatives have pledged in the next five years. However, Labour are convinced they will be the ones to deliver the target by reforming the planning sector to kick start building.

They will introduce mandatory housing targets for councils and recruit hundreds of new planners to tackle backlogs, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has said.

Housing charity Shelter have welcomed the pledge calling it “bold and desperately needed”. They estimated 90,000 genuinely affordable social homes are needed a year to solve the housing crisis.

Labour have said they will try to “better protect” the existing stock of social rented homes by reviewing the increased Right to Buy discounts that were introduced in 2012.

Like the Conservatives, they want to build on more brownfield land and preserve the green belt.

Keir Starmer’s Labour party have pledged to increase the social housing stock (PA)
Keir Starmer’s Labour party have pledged to increase the social housing stock (PA)

Help for renters

The Labour party have promised to introduce an “immediate” ban on Section 21 evictions, also known as no-fault evictions, if they come to power.

The Conservatives also pledged to deliver this, but fell short when Rishi Sunak’s election announcement stopped key legislation passing through parliament.

The National Residential Landlords Association reacted to the news by saying that they hope the sector can be given time to properly prepare for the change.

Labour have also promised to empower renters to “challege unreasonable rent increases”. They are also looking to extend ‘Awaab’s law’, legislation brought in by the Conservatives to set housing standards for social housing, to the private sector.

Labour have pledged to expand legislation brought in by Michael Gove to protect housing standards (PA)
Labour have pledged to expand legislation brought in by Michael Gove to protect housing standards (PA)

Mortgage guarantee

As part of their promise to deliver economic stability, Labour has pledged to keep mortgages “as low as possible”.

They want to introduce a mortgage guarantee scheme to help first-time buyers who are struggling to save for a large deposit. And they also hope to get 80,000 young people on the housing ladder over the next five years.

Work together to end homelessness

Homeless and housing charity Crisis have praised Labour for its focus on homelessness in Thursday’s manifesto.

Labour have announced they will work across government, and with mayors and councils, to end homelessness.


Build homes in the right places

The Tories have pledged to deliver 1.6 million homes in England in the next parliament, also by fast-tracking homes through the planning system.

This will be achieved by building on brownfield land in the 20 largest cities. The Conservatives also want to build more in inner London - aspiring to the gentle density of housing in Paris and Barcelona.

They hope to force the Mayor of London to plan more homes on London’s underused industrial land, such as near Euston, Old Oak Common and Thamesmead.

They also hope to encourage new builds in Leeds, Liverpool, York and Cambridge.

Rishi Sunak wants to increase house building by making better use of brownfield sites (PA)
Rishi Sunak wants to increase house building by making better use of brownfield sites (PA)

Support first-time buyers

The Conservatives have promised to keep the threshold at which first-time buyers pay Stamp Duty at £425,000, a change that they introduced in 2022.

They will also launch a “new and improved Help to Buy scheme” to provide first-time buyers with an equity loan of up to 20 per cent towards the cost of a new build home. They have promised to help first-time buyers to get onto the housing ladder with a 5 per cent deposit.

Rishi Sunak has said that the new scheme will “get a new generation onto the property ladder”.

Charities have however said that Help to Buy does “more harm to our housing system than good”, as it drives up house prices and only helps a small section of people. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said the new Help to Buy scheme could help people get onto the property ladder, but warned that it had in the past led to higher house prices and profits for developers.

Social housing

The Tories have said they will make social housing available first to people with a “local connection” or a “UK connection” in England. This will “ensure this valuable but limited resource is allocated fairly”, their manifesto says.

Housing charity Shelter have critised this section of the manifesto saying that the Tories’ “only mention of social housing is to scapegoat people for the failure to build enough.”

Chief executive Polly Neate also said that the manifesto offered “no clear plan to tackle spiralling homelessness.”

Abolish no-fault evictions

The Conservatives have again committed to abolishing section 21 evictions, something that was in their 2019 manifesto.

Incentivise landlords to sell to tenants

A two-year temporary capital gains tax relief will be introduced for landlords who sell to their existing tenants. Landlords currently have to pay the tax on profits they make from a sale.

They have also said that they will fight any plan by local authorities to abolish Right to Buy.

Ben Beadle, of the National Residential Landlords Association, reacted to the news saying: “Tenants who want to become homeowners should be supported to do so. Whilst incentivising landlords to sell to existing tenants has the potential to help, it will not reverse the damage to the rental market caused by tax hikes under recent Conservative governments.”

LibDem, Green and Reform

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to build 380,000 new homes a year across the UK. They want 150,000 of these to be social homes each year. They want to build 10 new “garden cities” and have pledged to spend £6.2bn on meeting their social homes target.

The Green Party have said they want to make tackling the housing crisis one of their key priorities for the next parliament. Under their plans, the party would provide 150,000 new social homes every year and make sure housebuilders include solar panels and heat pumps where appropriate.

Nigel Farage’s Reform party has also pledged to review the planning system to kick start house building. They want to prioritise British nationals or local residents for social housing and scrap the Tories’ Renters’ Reform Bill.