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General election in focus

UK general election short-term rentals

Proposals to abolish the furnished holiday lettings tax regime failed to make it through parliament after prime minister Rishi Sunak called a general election for the 4th of July.

For now, it appears plans to overhaul tax incentives for FHL investors have been kicked into the long grass – especially with a change of government looking increasingly likely. Labour are generally polling around 20 percentage points ahead of the incumbent Conservatives – making them the overwhelming favourites to win the election. Meanwhile, the man who announced the proposed abolishment of the FHL tax regime – Chancellor Jeremy Hunt – might even lose his seat, with polls suggesting the Liberal Democrats will take his Godalming and Ash constituency.

With all this going on, we have been taking a look at party manifestos – particularly the Conservative and Labour versions – and taken a deep dive into their housing policies. Perhaps predictably, there is little to choose between the two main parties. Both are keen to build more houses, reform planning, and help first-time buyers. When it comes to short-term rentals specifically, there is nothing in Labour’s manifesto, while the Conservatives have stated they will “ensure councils have the powers they need to manage the uncontrolled growth of holiday lets which can cause nuisance to local residents and a hollowing out of communities”.

Key Conservative pledges

  • Ensure councils have the powers they need to manage the uncontrolled growth of holiday lets.

  • Build 1.6 million new homes in England by the next parliament – including increasing density levels in inner London to match European cities like Paris and Barcelona.

  • Pressure councils to build more homes but protect the green belt from uncontrolled development.

  • Remove stamp duty for first-time buyers up to £425,000.

  • Launch a new ‘Help to Buy’ scheme to provide first-time buyers with an equity loan of up to 20% towards the cost of a new build home.

  • Continue Mortgage Guarantee Scheme.

  • Click here to read the Conservative manifesto.

Key Labour pledges

  • Build 1.5 million new homes during the next parliament.

  • Immediately update the National Policy Planning Framework.

  • Deliver the biggest increase in social and affordable housebuilding in a generation.

  • Work with local authorities to give first-time buyers the chance to buy new homes.

  • Introduce permanent and comprehensive mortgage guarantee scheme to support first-time buyers.

  • Take steps to ensure the development of high-quality, well-designed, and sustainable homes while creating places that increase climate resilience and promote nature recovery.

  • Click here to read the Labour manifesto.

What are the other parties saying?

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to give local authorities new powers to control second homes and short-term lets in their areas by allowing them to increase council tax by up to 500% where homes are being bought as second homes, with a stamp duty surcharge on overseas residents purchasing such properties. In addition, it will create a new planning class for these properties. The Liberal Democrats have also pledged to build more homes and develop 10 new garden cities. The party also wants to end rough sleeping by the end of the next parliament. Click here to read the Liberal Democrats manifesto.

The Green Party wants to build more homes and implement legislation to ensure every property becomes more sustainable by reaching EPC B over the next 10 years. It is also pledging to build 150,000 new social homes each year. There is also a pledge for Green MPs to push for rent controls so local authorities can step in if the market is unaffordable for many local people. Click here to read the Green Party manifesto.

Reform’s priorities are to review the planning system, review social housing law, and abolish the Renters’ Reform Bill. Interestingly, Reform is also pledging to scrap 2019 tax changes for landlords in order to encourage smaller landlords into the rental market. Click here to read the Reform manifesto.

Plaid Cymru mentioned holiday lets specifically in its manifesto, saying it has supported plans to tackle the challenge of second homes and holiday homes in communities. In addition to implementing a council tax premium on second homes, Plaid Cymru is "looking to close loopholes which allow holiday homes to pretend to be legitimate lettings businesses, so that we can ensure that genuine self-catered accommodation businesses can be protected". Plaid Cymru also outlined an ambition to build more social housing and support Welsh construction companies. Additionally, it wants to eliminate homelessness and impose rent controls. Click here to read the Plaid Cymru manifesto.

The Scottish National Party has pledged to scrap the bedroom tax, devolve housing benefit and local housing allowance, expand the delivery of social housing, and fund and encourage investment in house building. Click here to read the SNP manifesto.

Who will you be voting for? Take part in our poll or let us know in the comments. NB: The parties are listed alphabetically in our poll.

Who are you going to vote for in the UK general election on 4 July?

  • Conservative

  • Green

  • Labour

  • Liberal Democrats



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