Entire generations are being priced out of homeownership and forced to rely on a ruinously expensive and under-regulated private rented sector. There is not enough social housing, and the social housing that does exist is often poorly maintained. Overcrowding and homelessness, including the scourge of rough sleeping, cause immeasurable suffering.
This housing crisis is no accident: it is the result of decades of government policy designed to benefit landlords and developers rather than ordinary tenants and residents. It will take radical reform to create a housing system that meets people’s needs.
In the long term, we want to see a society in which the fundamental right to a home is respected and homelessness made a thing of the past. Landlordism — the hoarding of homes for profit — should ultimately be abolished, and secure, truly affordable council housing made widely available. All homes should be safe and fit for human habitation, supporting health, wellbeing and environmental sustainability. And we must make sure that a range of homes are available or adaptable to meet the needs of groups such as older, disabled and neurodiverse people, and of various household sizes.
Adopt a Housing First model to tackle the homelessness crisis, giving rough sleepers immediate and unconditional access to housing.
Invest in the construction of at least 150,000 new council homes per year, with rent recycled locally to improve the existing housing stock and boost other council services.
Increase the supply of council housing by abolishing the Right to Buy and strengthening compulsory purchase powers to enable local councils to bring vacant properties back into use.
Deal urgently with threat-to-life building safety issues, recouping costs from those responsible for defective design, work or materials.
Legislate to ensure all homes are fit for human habitation and compel landlords to improve dangerous or substandard accommodation.
Disincentive landlordism by increasing taxation on unearned income and abolishing buy-to-let mortgages.
Increase taxes on residential properties kept vacant as financial assets and on second/holiday homes, including short-term lets, to encourage their return to use as primary residences.
Make private renting more affordable by introducing a system of rent controls, increasing wages and using council housing to put downward pressure on rents.
Ensure that resident health and wellbeing are prominent considerations in the design of new homes, with factors including daylight, clean air, noise, indoor and outdoor space.
Insulate existing homes and make all new housing developments carbon-neutral, using renewable energy technology and sustainable materials.
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