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My thanks to Andrew Moncreiff, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Chichester for alerting me to this response to the UKIP National Manifesto from the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors as follows:
16 Apr 2015 For discussion
By Jeremy Blackburn, Head of Policy at RICS
Seeking to shed their profile as a single issue party, the UKIP manifesto launch certainly stood out as the most policy heavy event.
They rattled through a whole array of party positions from the usual suspects of immigration and EU membership, to childcare, the military covenant and healthcare.
Despite the spread of issues covered, their new policies on housing and planning achieved less coverage. UKIP is the first party to agree to RICS Property in Politics proposals for a national brownfield map, as a premise for the building of one million brownfield homes over the next ten years.
The spur to this colossal development project will include the relaxation of planning laws to allow conversion of out-of-town commercial property to homes, the offer of £10,000 per unit incentives to developers for brownfield remediation building, and the introduction of a statutory duty on local authorities to bring empty homes back into use with permission for them to charge up to 50% more council tax on these abandoned properties.
The building of affordable property will be encouraged by the granting of stamp duty exemptions for properties worth less than £250,000 and a National Homeless Register will be formed with a view to eliminating homelessness in the UK.
They (UKIP) furthermore promised to scrap the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in favour of brownfield-first and greenbelt protection guidelines, streamline the planning application process by merging planning and building control departments in local authorities, while freeing local authorities from government-imposed minimum housing numbers and promoting small residential additions to villages over large-scale developments.
The localist and nationalist flavour was predictably present, with promises to push local authorities to prioritise those with ‘strong local connections’ in the allocation of properties, and an insistence on the registration of tenants’ nationality in the allocation of social, Local Authority and Housing Association housing.
Foreign nationals are to be excluded from accessing Right-To-Buy and Help-To-Buy schemes unless they can prove HMUK Military Service, and from accessing social housing until they have worked in the UK for five years.
Taken collectively, this raft of policies appeared to be the first real programme of this campaign that seeks to solve Britain’s long-term supply-side crisis.