The Peace Party – Non-Violence,
Justice, Environment.

Housing: The Peace Party updates and re-states the need for the provision of housing as a priority

It is clear that there are too few homes to meet demand, prices are too high for many to buy and rent, there is overcrowding and homelessness as worsening problems – and yet around two in a hundred stand empty.

What are our policies?

a.    We agree with the assessment of need identified on the Parliament website in 2015 which stated that the UK needs at least 300,000 housing units to be built every year for the foreseeable future.  The Department for Communities & Local Government announced on 16th November, 2017 stated that in 2016/7 only 217,570 units were added to the housing supply.  This needs to change urgently as supply is not keeping up with the country’s requirements.

(Example: Guildford requires 654 homes to be built per year for the foreseeable future.  There are about 1,300 empty properties in the Borough, about 2.4% of the total stock.  It is very likely that there will always be empty properties as residents move, carry out renovation work and so on.)

b.    Only when the supply of homes matches, or exceeds, will prices begin to fall to a level that many people can afford to pay.   At the present time, the so-called “affordable homes” are only accessible to a minority of home-buyers.

c.    In order to ensure that the 300,000 target is reached each year, the following measures are essential

d.    In order that sufficient land is available, it is suggested that all land should be  taken into the ownership of the people of the United Kingdom so that they have complete control over its use.  This would prevent that land-owners from “sitting on” land that could be used for housing and waiting for its value to rise.

e.    Planning restrictions on any home-building should be re-visited and, where appropriate, revised; for example, we would advocate the suspension for up to 25 years of all the “green belts” that surround major towns and cities.

f.    Local councils should be made responsible again for the construction and operation of homes for rent.  All rented homes should be brought under the control of the people and responsibility for their operation be given to local councils.

g.    Large homes-building firms should be brought under the control of the people to prevent profiteering and to ensure that government funds intended for the creation of homes, are well-spent.

h.    Firms manufacturing and supplying building materials should be brought under the control of the people, again, in order to prevent profiteering.

i.    Controls on immigration should be eased for those seeking work in home-building and further education colleges should receive sufficient funding to ensure there is an adequate supply of well-trained workers in the building trades.

j.    As new areas of housing are built, local authorities must be charged with ensuring that the local health-care and education systems are expanded in advance to meet the demand of the new population.  Similarly, those authorities must ensure that the transport infra-structure is also expanded well in advance to meet demand (by the provision of new roads, cycle- and pedestrian-ways, railway stations, as appropriate to the area).  Where noise may be likely to become a problem, for example from extra traffic, then all necessary measures must be taken to ensure that it is reduced to the minimum (for example, by the building of walls and bunds and the planting of trees and shrubs).

The government should again provide the necessary funding.

Footnote: Extract from the Peace Party Charter (2012):
The Peace Party would:
•    Create a housing programme to ensure that everyone, the young, the vulnerable, the socially excluded, single people, families, single parents with children and older and disabled people, has a home of their own to rent or buy.
•    Make full use of sites for new housing that have ceased to be used for other purposes
•    Enact legislation to release other land for housing.
•    Improve existing housing stock to the highest standard possible.
•    Institute shared ownership schemes with housing trusts.
•    Ensure that housing programmes contain a mixture of social, rented housing and owner-occupied homes.
•    Build all new housing to the highest eco-standards, so that it has the least impact on its surroundings.