2017 General Election manifesto recommendations

10 ideas to create a strong and stable economy

Author: Liam Booth-Smith   |  

2017 General Election manifesto recommendations

Targeted tax arrangements for the most deprived places. The most economically challenged places in the country, for instance those we have previously identified as stuck, should be provided special fiscal arrangements that make their place more attractive to inward investment and entrepreneurs. Tax reliefs offered as part of the Enterprise Investment Scheme and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme should be doubled in these places. For more detail click here.

A more efficient, less perverse land and property market. The next government should commit to achieving more functional and efficient land and property markets. The first steps in this should be allowing local authorities to levy council tax on plots allocated for housing which are not built in reasonable timescales and the repealing of Office-to-Residential permitted development rights legislation. For more detail click here.

Business rates devolution at a slower pace. It is right that local authorities are provided control over the rates at which local taxation is set, however the timeframe over which local authorities are provided full control of business rates should be lengthened. Local authorities should also be provided full discretion on applying business rate relief for charities and not for-profit organisations. For more detail click here and here.

Better and more sustainable estates. The next government should provide local authorities both discretion on the application of Right to Buy to their housing stock and greater flexibility to borrow money through their Housing Revenue Account to fund new homes and maintenance. For more detail click here.

A less London-centric publicly funded culture offer. As part of the next government’s commitment to spreading state-funded cultural opportunities beyond the capital, places should be provided with the statutory right to propose public sector relocation. Effectively a form of inward investment, public sector relocation can have a significant impact on local economies. For more detail click here.

Make Affordable Housing affordable again. In the Housing White Paper government was right to temper down the duty on local authorities to promote Starter Homes. However it is our belief that the next administration should remove them as an Affordable Housing product entirely. Starter Homes are affordable in only a few small places of the country and very rarely to those people who need sub-market housing the most. For more detail click here and here.

Continued funding for communities. A number of places and communities are dependent on structural funding. As the country leaves the European Union, the next government should commit to replacing European structural funds and Local Growth Fund with a single pot. For more detail click here.

Free childcare for the most disadvantaged at a younger age. The next government should scrap the proposed universal roll-out of thirty hours free childcare expansion scheme. Instead expansion should be done on a means-tested basis providing low-income families fifteen hours free childcare for one year olds and an additional fifteen hours free childcare for three and four year olds. For more detail click here.

Transition Help to Buy to a deposit guarantee scheme. Government-sponsored home ownership subsidies are an important fixture of the housing market, however the Help to Buy scheme has been used more – and costed more – than expected. Moreover developers are overly reliant on it when addressing the viability of new housing schemes. Government should instead invest in developing new mortgage markets, such as guaranteeing the deposit for young families in 100% mortgage schemes. For more detail click here.

Create a new threshold and criteria approach to devolution. Two thirds of England isn’t governed by a strategic authority central government would, based on recent history, devolve powers to. Partly this reflects local political variation and relationships, but a consistent complaint of local areas who have attempted the devolution deal process is that it is hard to understand the benefits. To ensure every area is clear on the benefits of devolution government should, in contrast to the ‘deal making’ approach,  adopt a threshold and criteria model, setting clear expectations of governance and plans, followed by the automatic transfer of powers to areas which meet government’s criteria. For more detail click here.