Saturday 21 April 2018

Parties urged to unite on housing

Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer stressed the need to find solutions to housing problems
Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer stressed the need to find solutions to housing problems

Political parties need to work together to create a long term solution to Britain's housing shortage, Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer have said.

The property experts, whose new show Love It Or List It is due to start on Channel 4 tonight, said building more houses was the main solution to the country's housing problem, but the parties are just focusing on short term policies to win votes.

Spencer said: "I'd say the chief problem of the housing market, which has built up over decades, is a housing shortage, we don't have enough houses to the numbers of people.

"But because the political parties, they don't have a unified policy on the important bits - you need a long time policy to solve what is a long term problem."

Allsopp added: "I want someone to turn to me and say 'I will have housing minister as a cabinet post. I will radically alter the planning rules'. Because all of the stuff that's been suggested is essentially just tinkering around the edges."

The 43-year-old mother-of-two said she had no desire to go into politics herself, but admitted she did have a lot of ideas on the matter.

Allsopp said: "I've never consider politics, in the sense that I love my job and I don't want to become a politician. But I do think a lot about politics, I'm very politically minded, because I'm very frustrated by things I see that aren't happening.

"And I think the housing debate is one of those areas where its just not happening. Because they want the headlines, they want to win the votes, when actually they need to look at it long term."

The Location, Location, Location stars do not believe Labour's proposed rent cap is the way to tackle the problem.

Spencer said: "I think the thought behind it probably came from controlling rogue landlords and being fair to tenants, and I absolutely agree with that, but capping rents is not the way to do it.

"A rent needs to be governed my market forces, supply and demand, it will find itself.

"There are an increasing number of tenants and that is a trend that is likely to carry on, because it's harder to buy property.

"What's very difficult for people in rented accommodation is saving up for a deposit because the cost of living is rising. There aren't that many more landlords, which means if more people want to rent property there's more demand, so the rents go up. Rising rents mean its harder to save for a deposit, so they're a bit stuck."

Allsopp added: " I think the rent thing is idiotic. If you look at the actual statistics, it's very, very low the rise in rent. What's happened is people's costs have gone up, because agents have started charging those who rent."

But the pair disagree about Labour's proposals to alleviate Stamp Duty for first time buyers.

Spencer said: "Yesterday's news was no Stamp Duty for first time buyers under £300,00 which I think is absolutely fantastic. Anything that helps first time buyers join the ladder has got to be good news."

But Allsopp said: "I would have thought it was fantastic, had we not had Stamp Duty altered, but Stamp Duty has been so dramatically altered in the last budget, that I think it's pretty irrelevant.

"When you have these Stamp Duty holidays, they always come to an end. I don't like anything which causes a bottle neck.

"I think the Stamp Duty problem was sorted out by George Osborne in the last budget. It's still too high, but I think it's much better than it was."

New show Love It Or List It sees the duo go head-to-head as Allsopp persuades home owners to remodel their homes rather than go through the hassle of moving, while Spencer tries to find them a new property to buy instead.

Press Association

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