General Election 2019: Housebuilding Figures
06 Dec 2019
Another General Election is just days away, and politicians are doing what they can to convince you that they’re worthy of getting the keys to Number Ten on the 13th.
In the run up to the 2017 election Energist filtered out the headline grabbing claims from each of the party manifestos and just looked at the political promises for sustainable house building.
And here we are again just two years later…
How many new homes does each party want to build; and to what level of energy efficiency?
Just looking at numbers, the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives are saying the same thing: 300,000 new homes a year, and a third of these will be social/affordable housing. But that’s about all they agree on.
The Conservatives would stay on course with their Future Homes Standard plan, which means a potential 31% cut in emissions from new builds next year, and a further leap in 2025; promoting the use of heat pumps instead of gas boilers.
Lib Dems are saying every new build should be zero carbon with mandatory solar panels by 2021 and would introduce Passivhaus standards from 2025. They are committing £130 billion to help developers achieve this and would link the Stamp Duty Tax with a dwelling’s EPC rating.
Labour’s manifesto pledges to ‘proceed with a housing programme… until every family on this island has a good standard of accommodation’ Although this has been copied word-for-word from their 1945 manifesto, it’s still a relevant sentence.
The Greens have said the same but in fewer words. They’ve said we should build ‘enough’ affordable houses to meet demand; the actual numbers should be decided at a local level.
Labour want us to build 150,000 social/council houses a year with the Greens committing to 100,000.
Greens want all new builds to meet a Passivhaus style targets and work to A rated EPCs within ten years whilst Labour are pushing further with a pledge of zero carbon homes for all new builds.
All four parties are promoting a decentralised energy grid as a more efficient way of generating power. The conservatives are looking to promote hydrogen gas, offshore wind farms and nuclear. Lib Dems would invest in tidal, hydro and battery storage. Labour put focus on heat pumps, solar, hydro and heat networks. The Greens, as you may expect, want to invest heavily in all renewable sectors.
We aren’t intentionally leaving Brexit out of this article; but their ‘Contract with the People’ doesn’t reference housebuilding targets or energy targets. They do want to simplify planning to make it easier for councils to build new homes, and to give sites more flexibility to build more affordable homes, where there is a need.
In other news, both Labour and Lib Dems want to scrap a planning exemption that lets developers convert town centre office blocks into dwellings without planning permission. And the Conservatives win the prize for the biggest curveball with their promise that all new streets will be ‘lined with trees’. We’re not sure if that counts towards their commitment to plant 75,000 acres of woodland.