Housing Planning UK Independence Party

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					      Policy Statement




building for
 the future
A housing and planning policy
  for an independent Britain
BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE
A HOUSING AND PLANNING POLICY
    FOR AN INDEPENDENT UK



     A POLICY STATEMENT




 UKIP – UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY
Contents
1. Introduction
1.1 The Problem
1.2 Housing & Planning Today
1.2.1 Failure of National Government
1.2.2 European Union
1.2.3 Immigration & Population
1.2.4 Land and Housing Stock Management
1.2.5 Environment
1.2.6 The Lack of Affordable Housing
1.2.7 Infrastructure
1.2.8 Planning
1.2.9 Policy Making
2. Executive Summary
3. Government Failure and the Law of Supply & Demand
4. The First Time Buyer
5. Home Information Packs (HIPS)
6. Empty Homes
7. Brownfield Sites
8. The Green Belt
8.1 Immigration
9. Flood Plains/Flood Risk
10. Landfill Sites
11. Housing Priorities and Local Needs
12. Eco Towns, the Environment, Energy Saving and Going Green
13. Local Authorities: Ensuring Homes for All
  Reinvigorating Local Government
  Returning Planning Powers to Local Authorities and the People
  Local Planning Referenda
  Scrapping Regional Assemblies
  Local and County Plans
  Public Information
  Local Heritage Protection
  Planning Fairness
  Ending Retrospective Planning Approvals
  Planning Permission Appeals
  Abolishing the Infrastructure Planning Authority
  Judicial Planning Appeals
  Planning Approval by Acts of Parliament
  Planning Vetoes
  Building More Council Homes
  Specialist Housing Association and Key/Rural Workers
  The End of Slum Tower Blocks
 Enhanced Flood Defences Against Coastal Erosion
  Developer Obligations
  Welfare State and Reinvigorating ‘Sink Estates’
  The Welfare State and the Private Rental Sector
  The Welfare State, Immigrants and their Housing Impact
14. Right to Buy
15. Shared Ownership Schemes
16. Elderly Accommodation
17. Vulnerable People – Drugs, Alcohol and Mental Health Issues
18. Teenage Pregnancies – Passport to Housing
19. Incentives to Downsizing
20. Renovation, Conversion and Refurbishment
21. Financial Regulation and Taxation Laws
22. Stamp Duty
23. Royal Commission on Housing and Architecture
24. Ending Gazumping Once and For All
25. Provision for Travelling People
Acknowledgements
1. Introduction

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) believes that shelter in the form of Housing is a
basic need that should be both affordable and available to all. It is Government’s
responsibility to ensure adequate housing provision is facilitated through implementation
of a Housing policy.

Housing provides security and stability for individuals, couples, families, the vulnerable
and elderly. This in turn provides the foundation upon which they can build springboards
enabling them to fulfil their aspirations and needs. As a consequence, housing policy
fundamentally influences our country socially, economically and environmentally.

Policy must take into account not just the financial costs of housing provision but also the
intangible effects such as quality of life. Our future housing must therefore reflect and
incorporate, through effective management, planning and design, the people’s wish to
live in a secure, safe, desirable and pleasing environment.

On-going planning management must become an integral part of policy if we are to
protect and provide for our current and future housing need. The UK does not have
infinite access to land, financial and labour resources. These are the essential resources
required to produce housing supply. Current housing policy alongside policies such as
immigration has led the UK to become one of the most densely populated nations in the
world. It is therefore unrealistic for the present Labour Government and both
Conservative & Liberal Democrat opposition to say that we shall simply increase the
housing supply to meet current projected demand. Their strategies are both unsustainable
and unrealistic. Their supply targets cannot be achieved because the UK does not have
the resource capacity and development infrastructure to do so.

UKIP policy will employ measures to manage the demand for housing, not just slavishly
following demand through attempting to provide supply. Additionally we shall review the
UK’s current housing and land stock so that it can be used to its best advantage. By doing
this, we shall reduce the ever-increasing gap between housing supply and demand. It is
this widening gap between demand and supply that both Labour and Conservative
Governments have failed to tackle. As a consequence, their collective failure has led to
unaffordable house prices and the crisis that we now find ourselves in.

UKIP believes in choice for the individual. The ability to choose between the stability
and security offered by home ownership as opposed to the flexibility that the rental
market offers the consumer. We shall encourage housing provision of both, be it by the
public or private sector. Our future generations are affected by the decisions made by the
Government of today. Failure by successive Governments to understand this and not
having the courage to face up to politically sensitive issues are the reasons why we now
face our housing crisis. This UKIP’s policy statement addresses these key factors in
order to provide adequate housing provision for every British citizen as well as providing
a radical new democratic structure for planning.
1.1. The Problem

1. In 2009, the number of empty homes in the UK reaches 970,000 as council housing
waiting lists soars with some 1,763,140 households in England alone on the list.
(Source: http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/StoryBlog.aspx?storycode=6507423 and
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2009/01/22/waiting-list-for-council-home-
soars-115875-21060546 and http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2010-03-
02a.319228.h)

2. Giant wind turbines could be built without planning permission. Wind turbines could
be put up across the countryside without planning permission under Government
proposals to cut red tape for environmentally-friendly projects.
(Source:       http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/6590078/Giant-wind-
turbines-could-be-built-without-planning-permission.html)

3. Living on one of Britain’s worst estates, single mum says that she would be better off
on the social but she ‘loves working’.
(Source:          http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/2773696/Tower-shocks-
Britains-poverty-day-two.html)

4. First-time home buyers at record low despite a significant rise in the number of
affordable homes over the past year, according to the Halifax.
(Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/jan/03/first-time-home-buyers)

5. Developer plans to build new supermarket will cause traffic chaos according to
residents.
(Source: http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/gloucestershireheadlines/Plans-new-
supermarket-shock-Hatherley/article-1699810-detail/article.html0

6. Anger over Tesco plans as local people accuse the supermarket giant of putting
forward misleading material on their proposed development
(Source: http://www.belpernews.co.uk/news/Anger-over-Tesco-plans.5499389.jp)

7. Government Minister admits that white families living on council estates feel
betrayed. (Source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2009/01/03/hazel-blears-
white-families-living-on-council-estates-feel-betrayed-115875-21011745/)

8. Councils on alert as tower block blaze fuels fears of more high-rise deaths. Safety
experts fear a flaw in construction could have helped London inferno to spread so
quickly. (Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/jul/12/tower-block-fire-
construction-flaw)

9. Birmingham's Bullring shopping centre has been voted Britain's ugliest building in a
new survey. The same survey said that Birmingham had the ugliest buildings in the
country. (Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7668994.stm)
1.2 Housing & Planning Today

1.2.1 Failure of National Government

Our present housing crisis is testament to Government’s failure to understand the
complexities involved in providing adequate housing for our nation. The Labour
Government does not possess the necessary leadership skills to deliver the UK’s housing
needs. This can easily be shown by the number of different housing ministers that have
held this Office since Labour took power. Britain needs a Government that takes housing
seriously.

Housing and planning requires stable leadership alongside continued understanding and
depth of knowledge of the problem we face. Continual change of minister fragments
delivery and creates confusion. Through lack of leadership, Labour has adopted a shallow
strategy. It is limited to setting increased new build targets which cannot realistically be
met.

1.2.2. European Union

Our membership of the European Union hinders UK housing success by imposing
directives which have both direct and indirect influence on the UK housing & planning
system such as the pointless Home Information Packs (HIPs). The EU does not recognise
the needs of our local communities. It does not allow for national, let alone local
community decision making. Whilst we remain a member of the EU, we shall never see
housing and planning decisions in the hands of our own national & local authorities.
However, it is these national and local authorities where the people’s needs are
understood. This is where action must be implemented and local needs addressed head
on.

1.2.3 Immigration & Population

It is not only EU housing and planning directives that negatively impact the UK. Our
membership brings with it many other consequences and directives that indirectly affect
all our domestic services provision. For example, it allows for free movement of people
across member states that has dramatically increased the UK population through
immigration. This increase has placed great demand in a relatively short space of time
upon all UK domestic resources and services. One of the key ones is housing. As long as
we remain a member of the EU, control of immigration is out of our hands and the UK’s
rising population will continue unchecked. This compounds our future housing problems.

1.2.4. Land and Housing Stock Management

Britain is fortunate to have some of the finest housing stock in the world from substantial
mansions through to decent well-crafted working class houses which provide sound and
characterful homes despite their age.
However, there is still a great shortage of quality housing in economically strong areas
such as London and the South East. This is the legacy of the poor quality and brutalist
housing that was built in the 1950s and 1960s. This housing not only fails to meet the
needs of modern residents but also ruins the appearance of British cities and towns.

Our land and housing stock has been poorly managed by Government. Bad management
leads to inefficiency. The UK has over 970,000 homes laying either empty or in need of
repair. Effective Government initiatives are not in place to bring these homes back into
use. The Government also appears to be unable to make available, provide incentives or
identify suitable Brownfield sites. This has led to the recent increase of new builds upon
both Green Belt and Greenfield sites.

UKIP will adapt all balanced measures to increase housing provision without repeating
the mistakes of the past through rushed and ill-considered planning and design.

1.2.5. Environment

Development, be it commercial, private or public has a direct impact on our fragile
environment. Housing and planning have consequences that need to be understood.
Simply concreting over our environment without thought is unsustainable and therefore
not the answer. It has adverse affects on our quality of life, invades our green spaces and
destroys our delicate habitats.

1.2.6. The Lack of Affordable Housing

Being able to afford your own property has become harder and even impossible for some.
This pattern began under Conservative Government and has continued under Labour.
Both parties have been unable or possibly unwilling to address the main problem. This is
the widening gap between housing supply and demand. Both have also ignored the
consequences of the expansion of the mortgage market. This has allowed people to
borrow up to 8 times their salary. This unregulated money supply has fuelled a rise in
house prices that bars entry to first time buyers and thus paralyses the market.

1.2.7. Infrastructure

With increased housing comes the demand on other public services such as schools and
GP surgeries. There are also the pressures placed upon our drainage, sewage, waste,
transport and shopping facilities. Much of the infrastructure problems are a consequence
of allowing decision making to be taken by the wrong authorities who are remote to local
needs and priorities.

1.2.8. Planning

The UK is unable to create and adopt its own planning strategy because of the power that
the EU has over us through its directives. The system is currently slow, bureaucratic and
uncaring of local needs. The planning system should facilitate appropriate development
and not impede it.

1.2.9. Policy Making

The key issues of transport, health, tax, welfare, education and the environment must tie
in together. However, current Government policy on these disparate issues is conflicting
and so results in fragmented policy frameworks and poor outcomes. UKIP will address
this and in so doing will enable local communities to take more control of their housing
and associated needs.
2. Executive Summary

UKIP will stop uncontrolled mass immigration which is responsible for nearly 9 out of 10
new homes needed in the UK.

UKIP will abolish centrally and regionally directed housing requirements by abolishing
Regional Spatial Strategies. UKIP will encourage the building of more houses, where
there is a shortage, rather than flats, where there is a glut.

From the saved UK contributions to the EU, UKIP will spend 1.5 billion a year on
building new quality social housing and demolishing poor quality houses especially
failed tower blocks and low quality buildings

UKIP will demand higher quality and standards of material, craft, soundproofing and
spacing for new homes to ensure that any new houses last as long as Edwardian and
Victorian homes.

UKIP will encourage the building of new local council homes by local councils instead of
forcing developers to provide social housing on new developments which amounts to a
‘homeowners development tax’.

UKIP will cut housing quangos down to size including the Housing Corporation and the
Tenants Authority Board.

UKIP will remove VAT and its replacement Local Sales Tax from the costs of
conversion of listed buildings, buildings in conservation areas and on empty buildings.

UKIP will encourage the return to productive use of the nearly one million homes that are
currently empty.

UKIP will encourage the building of more ‘community’ housing such as the Dorchester
suburb of Poundbury as well as smaller developments of fewer than 50 homes. UKIP is
opposed to mass housing estates.

UKIP will replace Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit with workfare jobs for
claimants who live in private rented accommodation. Instead of these benefits, they will
be paid to work on Council run Workfare projects. The projects will be designed to
benefit the local community. UKIP will give more rights to Landlords to clear out illegal
squats as soon as possible.

UKIP will demand tougher police action against those who commit anti-social behaviour
in housing areas and estates and so ensure offenders are moved on or prosecuted. UKIP
will also bring in retired police officers to act as wardens for these areas. They will act as
professional witnesses in the event of local people being intimidated into silence by youth
gangs or problem families.
UKIP will scrap centrally and regionally directed targets. UKIP will also abolish
Regional Development Agencies and Regional Assemblies.

UKIP will return to county, local and district plans that will be under the control of the
local authorities. UKIP will also introduce a UK National Plan that will provide an
overview and guidance for local authorities. This won’t be a rigid framework as is
currently the case.

Consequently, UKIP will abolish the Planning Inspectorate and end appeals to
Government Ministers. Planning decisions will be taken by local authorities and local
Referenda with a final right of appeal to the High Court.

There will be direct binding Referenda on all major housing schemes and economic
developments such as supermarkets, housing developments of more than 50 homes and
other major building projects.

In exceptional cases, UKIP will pass Acts of Parliament to ensure building work of
national importance such as the building of the country’s new power stations.

UKIP will insist that the same planning rules which apply to the settled community are
applied to the Travelling community. UKIP would ban Gypsy, Roma or traveller convoys
of over 10 vehicles without the paperwork showing pre-arranged destination sites. The
abolition of the Human Rights Act will prevent spurious claims about "right to family
life" permitting the breaking of local planning laws.
3. Government Failure and the Law of Supply & Demand

3.1 Both Labour and Conservative Governments have failed to provide effective policies
to provide for the UK’s housing needs. This failure is set to continue because the policies
of the Lib/Lab/Con focus solely on increasing supply without any concern for demand.

3.2 Increasing supply is not a viable option and will, on its own, not solve our housing
problem. For the past 10 years we have been led to believe our country has enjoyed
economic growth and yet during this time, new house completions have remained
relatively static.

3.3 In 1988, the number of new house builds in the UK was just over 242,000. In 2006,
this figure had declined to just over 211,000. During the annual periods between these
dates, the figures averaged out at just over 191,000.

3.4 Our Government has set new housing targets to appease the British public. Their
target however of building 3 million new homes by 2020 at an annual rate of 240,000
will not and cannot be achieved because of the following: We do not have the
infrastructure in place to service this additional housing; developers are laying off their
workforce and reducing development; the necessary financial resources are proving
harder to obtain; the demand is rising exponentially thanks to the rise in single person
households as well as huge increases in the UK population which is largely due to
immigration. In addition, there is already huge pressure on the UK’s available green field
land and developers are refusing to build on difficult brown field sites that have a host of
pollution problems.

3.5 Simple mathematics shows that the gap between demand and supply for housing will
continue to widen. This has been fuelled by Government failure and by our membership
of the EU. Since becoming a member of the EU over 30 years ago, the UK new house
completion trend has declined. This is no doubt fuelled by the UK’s net financial
contributions to the EU and the consequence of the free movement immigration policy.

3.6 In 2002 the Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimated that Britain would need 4 million
new homes by 2022 and that just over one fifth of this requirement would come from net
migration. This ignored the numbers of illegal immigrants which has been estimated by
Migration Watch in September 2008 to be over one million people.

3.7 In order to solve our housing crisis we must take action in areas able to reduce
demand. By doing this we reduce the widening gap by allowing time and breathing space
for us to catch up with supply. Whilst demand far outstrips supply, housing will be
costly, unaffordable and unavailable. UKIP will reverse this trend.

3.8 In addition, UKIP will take the housing pressure off the most crowded areas of the
UK, by encouraging increased development in areas with more available housing. These
incentives will include reduced interest rates for local developers and providing fast
transport links for commuters.
4. The First Time Buyer

4.1 UKIP believe in home ownership be it via the public or private route. In order for a
healthy housing market to exist for the First Time Buyer (FTB), they must be able to step
onto the ladder in the first place. Under previous Governments, the lower rungs have
steadily been removed. This places house buying out of reach for many young people.
The FTB needs to understand why those lower rungs have been taken away and how
UKIP intends to replace them.

4.2 As mentioned earlier, spiralling house prices have been fuelled by a huge increase in
demand. Through our policy of EU membership withdrawal, we shall be able to impose a
5 year moratorium on immigration thereby reducing demand and helping to stabilise the
market place.

4.3 Banks, Building Societies and other financial lending institutions have also fuelled
demand and consequently the costs of buying. This was done by allowing easy access to
money at excessive loan to value and income ratios. UKIP believe financial institutions
have a responsibility to the housing market.

4.4 As such UKIP will encourage the financial services industry to self regulate down to
stricter lending guidelines. This will help to dampen down demand. Moreover, UKIP
will expect lenders to investigate other more favourable lending formulae and financial
products. Gradually, the house price to earnings ratio will be brought back to safer
levels and for FTB, this will mean greater affordability. This is dealt with in greater
depth in the Financial Regulation and Taxes section.

4.5 These measures will also avoid any repeat of the recent bank and building society
collapses that have negatively impacted not just on the FTB but also shareholders,
taxpayers, new mortgage customers and existing home owners.

4.6 A UKIP government will assist in promoting low cost home ownership schemes
throughout the country in partnership with local authorities. They in turn can promote and
deliver the schemes in accordance with their local needs and housing provisions.

5. Home Information Packs (HIPs)

5.1 Home Information Packs (HIPs) have been in force in Britain since 2007 because of
the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2002/91/EC) and this
Government’s objective to raise additional VAT. Essentially this is just another
unnecessary regulatory obstacle brought into the buying, selling and renting process.

5.2 Home Information Packs (HIPs) are also another layer of bureaucracy which slows
down the house selling process. Moreover, it is utterly pointless as a report prepared by a
seller is unlikely to be accepted by a purchaser. UKIP believes that this is a conflict of
interest. Any buyer of a property can only be satisfied in buying the property by obtaining
their own report and investigation.

5.3 In addition, valuation reports will also be carried out by the purchaser obtaining a
mortgage along with their own private surveys. UKIP does accept that home energy
efficiency reports are included as part of basic valuation reports and that all new homes
should satisfy energy efficiency standards.

5.4 In UKIP’s view, HIPs are a waste of time and money and consequently, UKIP will
scrap them immediately.

6. Empty Homes

6.1 It is estimated that there are over 970,000 homes lying empty and disused in the UK
which is equivalent to more than eight years of average house building in England
(Source: John Stewart of the Home Builders Assoc – England – 2009 – 118,0000
completed homes. No figures available for Scot/Wales yet.) . Under the circumstances, it
is negligent management of the UK Government to allow these properties to lie empty
especially when the UK has a chronic shortage in the housing supply.

6.2 Local authorities are best placed to identify where homes lay empty. A UKIP
Government would encourage local authorities to identify and encourage home owners to
release these assets into the housing market either through sale, lease or rent.
To that end, UKIP will give local authorities greater powers to compulsorily purchase
empty, derelict or dangerous properties in order to redevelop them to ease local housing
shortages.

6.3 Where properties are in need of refurbishment or renovation, UKIP will create grant
schemes that can be used by partnerships of local authorities and the property owners to
make the homes habitable once again.

6.4 Where areas of houses lay empty in areas for socio economic reasons, UKIP will
encourage regeneration so bringing with it private investment and employment.

6.5 National Land Use Database figures also indicate that over 400,000 homes could be
created from disused commercial premises such as the floors above shops. Together with
the empty homes estimate, this equates to well over a million homes. This figure is
nearly half of the current Governments homes target of supplying 3 million new homes
by 2020.

7. Brownfield Sites

7.1 Figures under the present Government suggest that new home builds on greenfield
sites are increasing when compared to brownfield sites. Developers prefer to build on
greenfield or former agricultural land because there are fewer associated problems. UKIP
believes that greenfield and agricultural land should be protected for future food
production. Consequently, brownfield sites will be UKIP’s preferred sites for future
developments.

7.2 Furthermore, brownfield sites will already have certain infrastructure in place such as
water, electric, gas and roads. It therefore makes sense to make use of these derelict
areas. Unfortunately many of these areas are unattractive and difficult to develop. This is
why more development is being built on greenfield sites. UKIP acknowledges this.

7.3 Therefore, UKIP will provide incentives to developers where serious difficulties
arise such as possible contamination. A UKIP Government will assist local authorities in
identifying the estimated many thousands of brownfield sites around the country. Once
compiled, the Government and the local authorities will then formulate a strategy, in
partnership with developers and other housing providers, in order to bring back these
sites back into use.

7.4 UKIP believes that the financial costs in assisting development on such brownfield
sites can easily be justified by the alternative negative environmental cost of building on
a greenfield site. It must be noted that UKIP will encourage brownfield development but
not so much as to stifle any growth in industry, manufacturing and processing buildings.
We do not wish to see any further deindustrialisation of the UK.

8. The Green Belt

8.1 Under Labour Government and increasingly noticeably under Conservative-
controlled authorities, the Green Belt which represents about 12% of the land in
England, is under serious threat. UKIP values the Green Belt. It will therefore resist
plans for development in such areas.

8.2 The Green Belt provides sanctuary for the natural environment provides essential
recreational facilities for town dwellers, improves air quality and stops cities, towns and
rural areas from merging into one another. If we do not protect the Green Belt then it
will just become another part of the concrete jungle.

8.3 Therefore, UKIP will turn the Green Belts which are currently zone designations on
a map into properly managed and maintained ‘Green Belt Parks’. They will be managed
in a similar way to National Parks with elected Green Belt Park Boards formed of
conservation experts, local council representatives and planning experts. These Boards
will be directly accountable to local people.

8.4 In this way, the Green Belt would be strongly protected and enhanced whilst
allowing the Green Belt to support living communities with a sensible balance between
conservation, economic development and the provision of local housing.

8.5 By reducing immigration and expelling illegal immigrants, UKIP will reduce the
pressure on congested towns and cities such as Peterborough and the Green Belt. UKIP
will also introduce ‘Ellis Island’ reception centres for immigrants so freeing up more
accommodation for local people.

9. Flood Plains/Flood Risk

9.1 UKIP will impose a ban on any development on flood plains and in areas prone to
flooding. Local Planning Authorities can currently override the Environment Agency
advice not to build on a flood plain. At present, the EA acts in a consultative role only.

9.2 UKIP believes that the Environment Agency is the right body with the expertise to
calculate potential flood risk, which not only occurs because of river or coastal flooding
but also other infrastructure flood sources. Consequently, UKIP will therefore reverse
LPA power to override by giving the Environment Agency a veto on any developments
that run the risk of flooding. The LPA shall retain the power over the EA on all other
planning issues.

9.3 If a developer wishes to pursue development on a flood plain, it will have to receive
the Environment Agency approval for the plan before it goes forward to the LPA. In this
way much upfront works and investment in design will have to be undertaken by a
developer. As a consequence, no more developments will be built that risk serious
flooding. In addition, UKIP will spend £1.5 billion a year in saved EU contributions on
the UK’s flood and coastal defences. This is dealt with in greater depth in the EU
Contributions section and the ‘Produce and Prosper – the Jobs, Enterprise and Skills’
Policy Paper.

10. Landfill Sites

10.1 There will be a ban on building on landfill sites owing to problems that arise with
subsidence and methane gas emissions.

10.2 UKIP is also appalled that the EU’s Landfill of Waste Directive (99/31/EC) of April
1999 is needlessly costing each Council an average of three million pounds every year. It
has also led to a huge rise in unsightly fly-tipping around the country. On leaving the
EU, UKIP will immediately repeal any legislation connected with this Directive to ensure
that there is a return to proper, regular rubbish collections. Moreover, UKIP will ensure
that there is systematic prosecution of fly-tippers to stamp out this practice. In this way,
UKIP will help to improve both the rural and urban environment which has been
blighted by fly tip dumps around the UK.

11. Housing Priorities and Local Needs

11.1 The actual design of the UK’s future housing will play an integral part in UKIP
housing policy. Design standards will be enhanced and UKIP will work with leading
innovative industry front runners to ensure that all new builds take into account our
present and future needs. UKIP understands the customer’s housing preferences and
needs. In doing so, UKIP will force a public-led housing Renaissance rather than one led
by developers and Governments. In the past, this unholy alliance has led to an over
supply of high density flat developments which does not reflect our housing need and
household compositions.

11.2 Under the present Government, the British public has been duped by the phrase of
‘building more homes’. It is not homes that we need but houses. UKIP will not only
apply the enhanced design standards to new builds. Through its emphasis on renovation
and refurbishment, UKIP will also apply it to the redesign of existing buildings. By
adopting public-led design strategies, UKIP shall be able to reduce crime and anti-social
behaviour in many local areas. This will also help parents as family life has been
undermined by the lack of adequate houses. For many families, this means an
overcrowded home which is riven by tension. UKIP will make sure houses are built that
fit families and not targets.

11.3 Through better and public led design, UKIP shall be able to bring back the security
of family ties and the sense of community. The break up of both has increased under
Conservative and Labour Governments. In addition, UKIP will encourage the building of
more sensible ‘community’ housing such as the Dorchester suburb of Poundbury as well
as smaller developments of fewer than 50 homes. UKIP is opposed to mass housing
estates as they overwhelm the local area and soon become so-called ‘sink estates’.

11.4 UKIP recognises that there cannot be one ‘End All’ solution to the UK’s housing
crisis. For example, solutions to the urban housing problem will be very different to those
that work in rural areas. This is why local authorities are best placed to understand and
formulate effective strategies to deal with their unique circumstances.

11.5 To protect the quality of rural life, UKIP will allow local binding planning
referenda to promote or oppose onshore and offshore wind farms and their related power
lines and grids.

12. ECO Towns, the Environment, Energy Saving and Going Green

12.1 UKIP is against proposals for ECO towns/villages because this is a deceptive
description for mass housing estates with a few ‘green’ add-ons. The claims that these
towns will be eco friendly is nonsense unless, of course, they are to be isolated from the
outside world. Are we to imagine that deliveries and commuting won’t take place from
these towns?

12.2 The proposed Eco Towns (which some are calling ‘Tesco Towns’) will simply
become another commutable hub within the existing village and town development.
They will be built on greenfield areas which to a developer is prime land as it poses no
building difficulty. The planning of such towns will bypass local planning consultations.
This is because these proposals stem in part from EU directives and will be controlled
from Whitehall. These towns will also place additional pressure on services such as
schools, GP surgeries, hospitals, transport and water supply for example.
12.3 UKIP believes this approach is part of a system of bad management which is
destroying our precious countryside. Therefore, the UK must find an acceptable balance.
UKIP will promote and implement measures to incorporate proven environmentally-
friendly, energy-saving building and design techniques into all new building
developments. In addition, these techniques should be incorporated into as many
renovation and conversion home and business projects as possible. Eco, environmentally
friendly and energy saving techniques can be incorporated within existing developments
whether it is for single or multiple homes. We do not need new towns in order to go ‘Go
Green’.

12.4 UKIP’s policy in promoting conversion and refurbishment is also helping the
environment by using existing buildings. This in turn cancels out the need for lots of new
building materials that are required for a new building.

12.5 UKIP, through partnership and cooperation with the leading organisations in the
construction and housing sector, will ensure that these problems are addressed . Going
Green should be encouraged and not penalised.

13. Local Authorities: Ensuring Homes for All

13.1 Thanks to successive Conservative and Labour Governments, Britain’s local
authorities are emasculated and under-resourced.

13.2 The current Labour Government frequently overrides local councils on planning
issues. The EU regionalisation agenda has seen local authorities stripped of their planning
powers as part of a deliberate EU strategy to phase out the popular county council
system. To reverse this disgraceful situation, UKIP will undertake the following
measures.

13.3 UKIP believes local councils need reinvigorating with greater responsibilities,
enhanced accountability, restored functions and access to new forms of funding. These
new funding sources include a Local Sales Tax which will replace the EU-inspired VAT.
It will be at the same rate of 17.5%. Of this 17.5%, the local authority would receive a
proportion (up to five percent) directly as income. The Local Authority would also have
the option through a local referendum of increasing the LST up to a maximum of 20%.

13.4 This new funding system will ensure that local councils will no longer be afraid to
contest planning applications through fear of the resulting legal costs. This is because
they will be in much stronger control of their finances. These finance reforms will also
ensure that the local authorities can keep receipts for council house sales but must use
these funds to build more social housing or renovate existing properties. Other finance
reforms are dealt with in the later sections on the Welfare State.

13.5 As stated in the Renovation, Conversion and Refurbishment section, UKIP will also
remove business rates from empty commercial buildings in order to prevent the
nonsensical demolition and destruction of sound buildings in order to save rates.
13.6 The final element would be to try and temper the trade-off between zoning land for
residential development and for commercial development by allowing local councils to
keep half the Business Rates collected from commercial sites in their area.

13.7 Under the current system, unlike Council Tax, Business Rates are collected locally
but pooled nationally, which will always act as an incentive to local councils to prefer
residential over commercial uses. While there is often local opposition to commercial
development, it must not be overlooked that without local employers, any area, and
ultimately the whole of the UK, will be doomed to eternal decline and shortage of job
opportunities.

Returning Planning Powers to Local Authorities and the People

Local Planning Referenda

13.8 For larger planning schemes such as new supermarkets, large housing developments
(50 homes plus) and major business developments, UKIP will introduce a system in
which local planning Referenda may be called to determine the decision. This decision
will be final (for the planning scheme under consideration) and will not be subject to any
overriding by remote appeal bodies. The decision to call a referendum will be subject to
either a motion by local councillors in the local planning authority or by local people in a
petition containing the signatures of at least 5% of the affected local population. The
petition must gather these signatures within a 3-month time limit.

13.9 The Referenda themselves must be conducted over a reasonable timeframe such as
three to six months and so allow a proper informed debate on the pros and cons of a
development. UKIP terms these Referenda as ‘Tesco Referenda’. These Referenda
would be binding and final unless an Appeal is granted by the Courts or the decision is
overturned by an Act of Parliament.

Scrapping Regional Assemblies

13.10 As part of this process, UKIP will scrap all eight Regional Assemblies in England
and restore their planning powers to individual local authorities such as County Councils.
UKIP will also abolish centrally and regionally directed housing requirements by
abolishing Regional Spatial Strategies. UKIP will also abolish the Planning Inspectorate
that too often overrides local decision making. In order to ensure a joined-up approach,
there will instead be regular regional meetings of County and other councillors. Allied to
this change, UKIP will close down all Government Offices for the Regions, and move
their functions to suitable local authorities.

Local and County Plans

13.11 Local planning strategy will be returned to local and county plans. They will be
subject to local appeals and not to decisions made by remote and unaccountable planning
inspectors and Government inspectors. This will end the authoritarian and often
arbitrary decisions made on behalf of the relevant Government Ministers especially the
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. In this way, there will be substantial savings in
legal fees and bureaucratic costs for the country.

Public Information

13.12 UKIP will improve the accountability and quality of planning applications by
requiring planning permission applicants to provide better publicly displayed information
on relevant sites. This would include: artists impressions of proposed major buildings or
works; fuller explanations of the development proposal and tear-off slips with details of
the Applications for passersby to take away with them.

Local Heritage Protection

13.13 UKIP will also empower local authorities to establish their own ‘local listing’
process to supplement the heritage bodies national listings. Local listing would allow
buildings of local value but not necessarily of national value to be protected and
conserved through the planning process.

Planning Fairness

13.14 UKIP will remove planning exemptions for so-called environmentally friendly
housing. These often end up creating eyesores in rural and other settings. Whilst UKIP
supports environmentally efficient housing (well-insulated, sensitively designed solar
panels, low energy heating innovations), there are other criteria such as a building’s
suitability for its surroundings that must be considered by the planning authorities.

Ending Retrospective Planning Approvals

13.15 UKIP will also remove the right to obtain automatic retrospective planning
permission after a given period has passed by. This is an insult to law-abiding citizens
who observe the correct planning permission procedure.

Planning Permission Appeals

13.16 Whereas developers and applicants for planning permission have an automatic
right of appeal against planning permission refusals, UKIP recognises that there is no
automatic right to an appeal against planning permission acceptance. UKIP will therefore
allow interested parties the same right of appeal against any planning acceptance
decisions.

Abolishing the Infrastructure Planning Authority

13.17 As part of this comprehensive democratisation of the planning process, UKIP will
abolish the new undemocratic and unaccountable quango - the Infrastructure Planning
Authority. This organisation has been devised to overrule local opposition on wind farms
and related infrastructure. Moreover, it operates without any consideration of the views
of nationally and locally elected representatives. It is a rubber stamp organisation for
Whitehall bureaucrats and vested corporate interests.

Judicial Planning Appeals

13.18 UKIP will allow appeals in the first instance to the District Courts, and their
Scottish equivalent Justice of the Peace Courts, only on the basis that the Council did not
follow its own correct procedures or follow Government PPG guidance. However, all
legal costs would be paid by the developer and not the council irrespective of whether the
case is won or lost.     If the Referendum turns down the proposal and the Appeal is
rejected by the Courts, no further proposals can be submitted for at least one year
thereafter.

Planning Approval by Acts of Parliament

13.19 In exceptional cases, the Government will use the existing Acts of Parliament
measures - or devolved bodies if applicable – to grant planning permission where there is
an overriding national interest. For example, such Acts might be needed for urgent
permission to build long overdue nuclear power stations on existing or suitable alternate
sites, new high speed rail lines, new major roads, ports, airports or reservoirs or
developments of national economic interest such as the Channel Tunnel project. Such
planning Bills may be entirely public (government) or be hybrid, i.e. a mixture of
Government and private concerns promoting the Bill. In addition, the Government will
still set a national policy framework through Planning Policy Guidance (PPGs) notices.

Planning Vetoes

13.20 It must also be noted that UKIP will give bodies such as the Environment Agency,
Highways Agency, Transport authorities and Water, Electricity and Gas utility companies
the right to veto new planning schemes on a number of service criteria. The agency or
company must demonstrate that local facilities are unable to cope with the additional
demands of such a development and thus the development would be severely detrimental
to local people. However, these objections can be overridden in a local planning
referendum or by the Courts. However, the Environment Agency veto cannot be
overturned if it based on the fact that the planned development will run the serious risk of
flooding. This is dealt with in greater detail in the Flooding section of the paper.

Building More Council Houses

13.21 Since the early 1980s there has been an aggressive attack by Government on Local
Authorities to transfer and privatise their housing stock to housing associations (HA).
Over that time it is noticeable that new builds in social housing has seriously declined.
13.22 Councils are currently being ‘convinced’ by Government through short term
‘financial incentives’ to either transfer their housing stock to HA’s, encourage Private
Financial Investment (PFI) or set up Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs).
It is UKIP’s experience that where privatisation is introduced into Social Housing
provision, the motive for profit far outweighs the motive for provision.

13.23 Like everyone in the housing industry, housing associations are not immune to the
recent turbulent housing market. Like many, they have fuelled their growth by taking on
huge debts only to find that they too are having trouble with repayments. Some have
gone bankrupt whilst others are using their rental income to service their debt. Some
have to carry out the false economy of merging with other HAs.

13.24 UKIP finds the recent fashion for HAs to merge worrying for it distances the
relationship between housing providers and their local communities. Profit becomes the
prime motive. Rents increase. Service, management and repairs suffer. UKIP wants to
reverse this trend by ensuring the survival of smaller housing providers at the local level.

13.25 UKIP believes that local communities should be given the choice for social
housing to remain in public ownership and shall thus encourage the so-called ‘Fourth
Option’. This creates the financial environment for councils to retain ownership of their
housing stock or be able to compete effectively alongside other housing providers.

13.26 As a long-term safe investment, housing has a strong track record. It therefore
makes sense for local authorities to retain this asset. There are also the additional
consequential social investment benefits. Having a solid asset base, it allows local
authorities the opportunity to raise funds and invest in local services. Without assets,
proper service provision becomes a much more difficult task to provide for effectively.

13.27 To this end, UKIP would allow local councils to issue their own bonds secured
against their capital assets subject to clear rules and guidelines. This is part of UKIP’s
general move towards greater independence for local councils and thus more control of
their own finances.

13.28 In addition, UKIP will allow council house sales but insist on the ring-fencing of
council house sales receipts going towards the provision of new housing or reducing
housing debt. However unlike Labour and the Conservatives, UKIP will encourage
councils to retain and build on their existing housing stock.

13.29 In addition, UKIP will review the unfair ‘Housing Revenue Account’ system and
the unfair way in which council housing is financed. For some local authorities, nearly
50% of their income is raised through rent but it is given to the Treasury for redistribution
to other areas.

13.30 UKIP believe rental income received by local authorities should stay and be re-
invested locally. Some councils are demolishing properties simply because they do not
have the financial ability to renovate and refurbish them. With housing in such short
supply, UKIP believe this is unsatisfactory. Therefore, reforming the system of local
authority finance is essential in alleviating this problem.

13.31 UKIP will allow local councils to specify and zone appropriate sites for local
council housing or social housing provision. This ensures that the councils have the land
to provide social housing for homeless families and others on their burgeoning waiting
lists. In England alone, the number of households on the Council waiting lists totals
some 1.76 million.

Specialist Housing Associations and Key/Rural Workers

13.32 However, UKIP will seek to work with specialist housing associations that build
for only key workers. In rural areas, UKIP will work with those housing associations that
build homes for the sons and daughters of local people. Moreover, UKIP will encourage
the building of junior nurses accommodation in hospital grounds for example. This
eliminates the need for commuting and cuts transport congestion. It is UKIP’s view that
localisation is a positive aim in the planning process.

The End of Slum Tower Blocks

13.33 There is strong evidence that tower blocks and similar housing create conditions
for greater crime, vandalism and anti-social behaviour. They also disadvantage many
elderly and disabled residents.

13.34 UKIP would make it a priority to move towards large scale clearance of 'vertical
slums' (failed tower blocks). Therefore, UKIP will help councils fund the demolition of
failed tower blocks and other poor quality accommodation, and replace it with more
attractive housing for local people.

13.35 UKIP will dedicate a sum of £1.5 billion pounds a year from saved net EU
membership contributions (of £6.4 billion p.a) to programmes in order to eliminate failed
tower blocks and housing.

Enhanced Flood Defences Against Coastal Erosion

13.37 UKIP will invest £1.5 billion a year from saved UK contributions to the EU (as
with slum housing) in improving the UK’s flood defences and coastal defences. This is
to combat the often calamitous impact of flooding on local communities and protect
coastal housing and communities from preventable sea erosion.

Developer Obligations

13.38 UKIP will remove requirements for Section 106 agreements plus all requirements
for developers to provide social housing as part of new development plans. UKIP
believes that such measures are substantial backdoor taxes on home buyers and distort
and cheapen the planning process.
13.39 UKIP believes developments should stand or fall on their own merits, not on
associated ‘sweeteners’ aimed to make a development more palatable. UKIP is not
opposed to development. It is just that we demand that developments are of appropriate
design, size, quality and suitability for the local area.

13.40 However, UKIP will insist on new developments meeting high quality and design
standards. Developers must prove that their building can last a minimum of 100 years
unless it is a temporary structure with limited uses.

The Welfare State and Reinvigorating ‘Sink Estates’

13.41 The benefits system has also been implicated in family breakdown. It penalises
couples who are married or who are in long term stable loving relationships. This will
often result in a reduction of the entitlements of one or both partners. Single parents can
also receive a short cut to the front of waiting lists for social housing. Given these factors,
it is perhaps unsurprising that the norm of two married adults forming a long-term
household unit is becoming rarer. UKIP believes in forging stable family units and will
make the Welfare system fairer and simpler. It will also enable some 200,000 couples
(2006 figures) to stay together without pretending to the ‘social’ that they are living apart.

13.42 UKIP is also determined to deal with the so-called poverty trap which is a direct
result of the Welfare State. The main reason for the high unemployment rates
among social tenants and the low turnover rates in social housing is that
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit are savagely means-tested.
They are withdrawn at 85p for every additional £1 of net income (after
PAYE and Tax Credits) above certain thresholds, creating a classic
‘poverty trap’. The other reason is that even if a social tenant household
is on an average income and not entitled to Housing Benefit/Council Tax
Benefit, they retain the benefit of the below-market rents.

13.43 Owing to the way that the benefits currently interact, social
tenants who are in low paid work have to pay up to 35% of their gross
wages in rents but social tenants on average incomes pay less than 20%.
This is not only a huge disincentive for social tenants to seek low paid
work. It is also a significant disincentive for ‘the better off poor’ to leave
social housing for the privately rented sector or choose owner-
occupation.

13.44 UKIP therefore recommends that social rents be set at a single
inclusive figure (rent plus Council Tax, net of notional Council Tax and
Housing Benefit) calculated at around 20 per cent of each household’s
gross income: This would ease the poverty trap for the most needy. Social
tenants on very low incomes would keep 49p for every £1 earned
(assuming a flat tax rate of 31%) rather than 4.5p as at present. It would
also encourage households on higher incomes to move into the private
rented sector or owner-occupation. This is because at a certain level of
income, the social rent that they are paying would be higher than a
comparable rent in the private sector or the cost of a repayment
mortgage. This may seem unfair but it is exactly these households who
will benefit most from UKIP’s proposal to double the tax-free personal
allowance. So by taking the two measures together, there will be very few
households who will lose out.

13.45 Of course, local councils should be allowed to set a higher or
lower percentage and be democratically answerable for their decision. A
lower rate would flatten the poverty trap even further but receipts will
drop and the ‘better off poor’ would be less motivated to move out and
vice versa. Local councils would also be allowed to set upper or lower
limits on the rents that they charge. At present, there is little motivation
for councils to maximise their rental income as rents are ‘ring-fenced’
and the costs of housing benefit and council tax benefit are borne by
central rather than local Government.

13.46 UKIP would consider allowing local councils to retain all social
rents thus giving them every incentive to ensure that as many of their
tenants are in work as possible. Once the system for Workfare jobs is
established for private tenants in receipt of Housing and/or Council Tax
Benefit, there is no reason why it should not be extended to all social
tenants who are not declaring any income and hence not paying any rent.
The exception will be the elderly or those too incapacitated to work at all.

13.47 Needless to say, UKIP supports the retention of Assured Tenancies for responsible
Social Housing Tenants but not for so-called problem families who create misery for
their neighbours. UKIP will ensure that local authorities have the powers to evict such
people at the earliest opportunity.

13.48 In addition, UKIP will demand tougher police action against those who commit
anti-social behaviour in local areas. This behaviour can render many homes unsuitable
for human habitation and is totally unacceptable.

The Welfare State and the Private Rental Sector

13.49 The total Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit paid to tenants
in the private sector costs just over £5 billion per annum. Around
800,000 private tenants claim these benefits so the average weekly claim
is well over £100 per week per household. For many households, the
value of Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit is greater than the value of
the Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance that they receive.

13.50 These tenants have very little motivation to find a job, unless it is
reasonably well paid, as withdrawal of Housing Benefit/Council Tax
benefit reduces their net income to 4.5p for every £1 earned. Further,
Housing Benefit is a direct subsidy to private landlords so it pushes up
the rents that non-claimant private tenants have to pay.

13.51 Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit for private tenants will be
phased out and replaced with ‘Workfare’ jobs. These Workfare job
schemes will be administered by local councils to ensure that those who
would otherwise not be able to find work can still cover their rent and
Council Tax. In addition, these private tenants will be contributing
something of value to the local community.

13.52 UKIP believes that all forms of work – whether paid or voluntary –
are of great benefit in terms of social interaction, self-discipline and self-
esteem. Workfare jobs will be a useful springboard into employment.
UKIP accepts that local councils will not always obtain ‘full value for
money’ for these jobs but believes that it is better for people to be doing
something rather than becoming completely inactive.

13.53 Under UKIP’s proposals, local councils will be freed from central
targets and will have more responsibility for their own budgets. In other
words, there will be less central funding and more local taxation. This
means that the councils will be under constant democratic pressure to
obtain value for money. UKIP will also give more rights to Landlords to clear out
squatters as soon as possible.

13.54 UKIP would consider allowing local councils to divert the savings that arise from
phasing out Housing Benefit for private tenants into the construction of new social
housing. One of the main problems with social housing is that because the waiting list is
so long, tenants are unwilling to move elsewhere in the country to find work so
shortening waiting lists would increase mobility and increase employment.

The Welfare State, Immigrants and their Housing Impact

13.55 Britain's membership of the EU has allowed unlimited numbers of immigrants
from the EU to come to Britain and claim benefits. The overcrowding caused by mass EU
immigration has also placed tremendous burdens on social housing which has been felt
throughout the country. The costs associated with translation place an additional
unacceptable burden on the taxpayer.

13.56 There is a perception that refugees and asylum seekers are given
priority in the allocation of social housing which is not without
foundation according to official government figures. UKIP recommends
that social housing will be allocated on a pure waiting list approach. If a
household increases in size, then it will not automatically be upgraded.
Instead the household will be asked to reapply for larger accommodation
and then wait its turn.
14. Right to Buy

14.1 It is important that social housing stock be retained as such and where sold be
replaced as soon as possible. It is the way in which the current ‘Right to Buy’ scheme is
administered and set-up that has led to a serious reduction in social housing stock. For
example, receipts from the sale of social housing stock are not fully retained by the local
authorities. Consequently, the local authorities are unable financially to replace these
homes. This lack of financial ability is also accentuated by the RTB discount which
means that local authorities receive back even less revenue from the sale.

14.2 UKIP understands the aspiration by tenants to have a financial stake in their homes.
UKIP will facilitate this aspiration and endeavour to encourage both local authorities and
other social providers to provide this. UKIP will do this by removing the financial
deterrent not to do so by allowing the sale receipts to be kept by the local authority seller.
The local authority will in turn ring-fence the receipts for investment in more local social
housing and refurbished/converted homes.

15. Shared Ownership Schemes

15.1 With the cost of housing spiralling out of control, some people’s circumstances will
never allow them to make that first step onto the property ladder. Therefore, their choice
of housing will be restricted to renting.

15.2 To widen these peoples’ choices, UKIP will encourage local authorities to invest in
shared ownership schemes targeted towards local people. These schemes will offer them
the intermediate step between rental and full ownership.

15.3 UKIP will investigate various potential schemes such as the ‘40% mortgage/60%
rent’ arrangement. From this research, the Government will create a menu of options that
will be supported by Whitehall and financial institutions. Local authorities and social
housing providers will then be free to choose the scheme that is best suited to their local
needs. Once again, house sale receipts will be ring-fenced and reinvested locally.

16. Elderly Accommodation

16.1 In view of the UK’s ageing population, there will be a growing need for sheltered,
residential care and nursing homes for the elderly. UKIP will act in partnership with local
authorities/housing providers and charitable organisations to ensure affordable
accommodation is available for the UK’s elderly citizens.

16.2 For Long Term Care, UKIP will ensure a taxpayer-funded, non-means tested
guaranteed minimum standard of care through Long Term Care Vouchers of up to a limit
of £20,000. This will cost about £20 billion per annum, or about one-and-a-half per cent
of GDP. The bulk of this cost is already borne by the NHS or local councils so the
additional extra cost of scrapping means-testing would be minimal. Giving UK citizens
notice of such vouchers will encourage additional private healthcare plans or use of assets
to supplement the sum provided. More information can be found in the ‘Delivering
Better Care, Safeguarding the NHS’ healthcare policy paper.

17. Vulnerable People – Drugs, Alcohol and Mental Health Issues

17.1 Current Government housing policy is to integrate those with drug, alcohol and
mental health issues into mainstream social housing. However, this has let down both
those with drug, alcohol and mental health issues as well as the general public. The
problem has been compounded by the lack of Government support to social services and
other associated organisations to help integrate vulnerable people into the wider
community.

17.2 The result is that policy has led to a spate of anti-social behaviour that badly affects
local residents and their quality of life.

17.3 UKIP will therefore assist in partnership with local authorities and associated
organisations to provide ‘transitional halfway house residences’. In such halfway houses,
dedicated support will be available 24 hours a day. These residences will be provided as
a stop-gap to allow the individual to be supported, monitored and assessed. This will
prepare the individual for full integration into general needs housing.

18. Teenage Pregnancies – Passport to Housing

18.1 The UK has a growing problem with teenage pregnancies. UKIP acknowledges
that this is due to many contributing factors including poverty, poor education and low
aspirations. However, it does believe that removing the priority status incentive for
social housing will be a contributing factor in deterring such pregnancies.

18.2 Under UKIP housing plans, pregnancies will no longer be a passport for teenagers
to obtain their own housing. However, UKIP will provide dedicated supported housing
for the parent and child with on-site crèche and educational facilities. This means that the
teenage mother will be able to continue her education and thus be in a position to make a
better life for herself and her child.

18.3 Over time, a UKIP Government will put an ever increasing onus of responsibility
onto the teenage parent rather than the welfare state. This and other policies on NEETS
(Not in Employment, Education or Training) for example will help reduce the UK’s high
teenage pregnancy rate.

19. Incentives to Downsizing

19.1 Management of existing stock is a key to effective housing policy. UKIP is aware
that there are many single people or couples who now live in 2, 3 or 4 bedroom
properties. They are either elderly people or people remaining after children have left
the family home.
19.2 It therefore makes sense to encourage those with larger than needed accommodation
to downsize to smaller accommodation and therefore release more housing potential.
Whilst some organisations offer a nominal figure which covers moving costs and a token
payment, UKIP believes that the incentive is not cost effective.

19.3 The costs of building a new 3 bedroom house, excluding land costs can be over
£100,000. It therefore makes financially sense to offer a large cash incentive that would
make a real difference to those giving up their home which can then be given to a family
that needs it.




20. Renovation, Conversion & Refurbishment

20.1 UKIP will encourage the retaining of old building which retain heritage, character
and landmarks. The wanton demolition of old buildings in favour of new has been
encouraged via the current tax system which favours the construction of new buildings
over the conversion of old properties.

20.2 Therefore, UKIP will treat conversion of old buildings into additional units on the
same tax terms as new developments.

20.3 As mentioned earlier, the saving of old buildings brings with it environmental
advantages. This is because renovation requires less construction materials than a new
build.

20.4 To further aid renovation and refurbishment projects, UKIP will aim to remove
VAT (to be replaced by Local Sales Tax under UKIP proposals) from the costs of
conversion of listed buildings and buildings in conservation areas. This can incentivise
the destruction of sound older buildings in exchange for cheaper, untaxed modern
buildings and is counter-productive.

20.5 In addition, UKIP will remove business rates from empty commercial buildings to
prevent the nonsensical demolition and destruction of sound buildings just to save rates.
This will also put a stop to the removal of roofs, toilets and other facilities to render the
building unusable for business rate reasons.

20.6 UKIP will establish a special annual £100 million fund which would give ‘Phoenix
Grants’ in part-funding towards the reconstruction of important national or local
buildings that should never have been demolished or were not replaced after war damage.
An application for Phoenix Grants would involve mobilising the support of heritage
lobby groups, local community groups, developers and local authorities to promote
individual private or public sector applications. An example would be restoring the
historic centre of Coventry and removing its poor quality post war architecture. In
addition, UKIP is also in favour of restoring the characterful ‘Euston Arch’ from Euston
Station which was taken down and dumped in the river Lea in the 1960s, and the Astoria
Theatre, bulldozed to make way for London’s Crossrail (which UKIP will cancel).

21. Financial Regulation and Taxation Laws

21.1 Banks, Building societies and other lending institutions can manipulate the housing
market. We have seen this recently with bad lending criteria fuelling demand and as such
increasing house prices out of the reach of many. The greed and bad management by
lending institutions must be regulated to avoid this scenario from happening again.

21.2 We now see the lending criteria becoming far stricter. However UKIP fears that
when the housing market picks up the lending institutions will once again expand their
lending criteria and fuel the market again.

21.3 UKIP would like to see the building societies and banks self regulate themselves
responsibly in the future without Government interference in order to avoid a future
repeat of the current recession.

21.4 In line with UKIP’s Flat Tax policy, UKIP will allow landlords to earn income from
rent up to £11,500 a year before requiring tax to be paid. This is on the assumption that
the landlord has no other income.

22. Stamp Duty

22.1 UKIP will review the size and application of Stamp Duty over time and would
desire cuts in it.

23. Royal Commission on Housing and Architecture

23.1 As a first step, UKIP will introduce a process where brutal, ugly or poorly
constructed buildings can be listed for demolition, to be named ‘X Listing’ as suggested
by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Once a building is so listed, a
compulsory Demolition or Re-design fund will be established with contributions from the
building owners increasing exponentially to incentivise replacement.

23.2 This fund will then part-finance the building’s demolition or comprehensive
redesign. For this process to be triggered, it will require an endorsement from a formal
heritage organisation such as English Heritage and be endorsed in a Referendum of 5% of
the local population as with the UKIP standard planning Referendum.

23.3 In addition, UKIP will institute a major Royal Commission enquiry into modern
architectural design to examine why so many comparatively modern buildings are now
having to be demolished or substantially refurbished. This is in sharp contrast to
traditional styles of architecture which remain in good condition after centuries of use.
The findings of the Commission will then be used to inform architectural teaching and
educate the planning process around the country. UKIP may also require architectural
schools to teach their students how to design buildings in traditional and classical styles
that can last for centuries.

23.4 The Royal Commission would also consider the question of banning the use of
exposed concrete in modern building design which tends to weather so badly in the
British climate. UKIP will abolish the much criticised quango the Commission for
Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).




24. Ending Gazumping Once and For All

24.1 UKIP will stop gazumping in house sales by adopting the Scottish system. Under
this system, a solicitor is required right from the start of the process as it is they who will
submit an offer on the buyer's behalf, and similarly, will receive offers on behalf of the
seller. This earlier legal involvement helps reduce the risk of gazumping because
solicitors are bound by strict Law Society of Scotland guidelines which state that they are
not permitted to accept another bid once they have agreed an offer.

25. Provision for Travelling People, Gypsies and Roma

25.1 UKIP accepts and respects the rights of Gypsies, Roma and travellers to lead their
traditional lifestyles, where exercising this right does not seriously disadvantage others.
However, we are deeply concerned at the impact on local communities, related crime and
litter issues from a minority, the council handling of site provision and the abuse of
landowner’s rights through enforced encampments.

25.2 UKIP therefore believes that a better balance needs to be struck of the right to
pursue a roaming lifestyle against the rights of local people not to have their quality of
life damaged as a result. Consequently, UKIP will abolish the discredited Human Rights
Act to achieve this balance and ban Gypsy, Roma or traveller convoys of over 10
vehicles without the paperwork showing pre-arranged destination sites. Vehicles may be
impounded if this is not adhered to.

25.3 In addition, UKIP will require local councils to provide a reasonable supply of
dispersed and well managed sites. These sites will be clean and well-screened. The sites
will be designed for smaller groups, and be similar to caravan and camper membership
organisation sites in discipline, cleanliness and facilities. UKIP will provide legal
backing for the enforcement of these high site standards and will amend the 1968
Caravan Sites Act as required.

25.4 UKIP will make it an offence to seize private land for caravan and related vehicle
parking, especially if entry is forced. This will result in a fine or a prison sentence, with
the seizure and loss of vehicles as necessary.
25.5 UKIP will control and manage immigration from EU and non-EU countries through
a work permit system. Roma gypsies and travellers arriving from outside the UK will
have to show pre-agreed work permits, local police notification and proof of pre-agreed
accommodation to be allowed entry into the UK. Furthermore, they must also provide
notification in advance to local police forces in order to legally enter the UK.

Acknowledgements

Richard Allden
Julie Ford
Stephen Peters
David Rowlands
Mark Stroud – Chair of the Housing and Planning Group
Professor Alice Coleman (Former Special Advisor to Margaret Thatcher)
Andrew Moncreiff (Policy Advisor)
David Campbell Bannerman MEP, Deputy Leader and Head of Policy
Niall Stewart
Michael McManus
     Published by the UK Independence Party
Lexdrum House, Unit 1, King Charles Business Park,
   Heathfield, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 6UT

                                                     10/UKIP/HOU

				
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