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MPs urge Prime Minister to be 'more radical' on housing market

Conservative MPs are to press Prime Minister Theresa May to do more to solve the UK’s housing crisis.

Among their suggestions for improving the situation for first-time buyers and those struggling to get on to the housing ladder is the introduction of a new rent-to-buy scheme, council tax to be paid on second homes rented out as holiday lets, stopping developers land-banking and initiatives for self-building.

Reports suggest almost a dozen Tory MPs will challenge Mrs May to put in place a more radical agenda for housing that will appeal to voters.

Biggest challenge for UK’s under-40s

Speaking to The Independent, North Cornwall MP Scott Mann said: “Successive governments have been unable and in some cases unwilling to truly address the biggest challenge facing under-40s in the UK: being able to buy a home that is genuinely affordable.

“Housing supply has not been kept up with demand for well over two decades, and now it is time for a comprehensive overhaul of a broken market.

“We need to come up with real solutions, not only because it is the right thing to do but also because it is a defining issue that is holding back Conservative support in the under-40s voters.”

Gary Streeter, MP for South West Devon, wants a new rent-to-buy scheme called Rentplus introduced. The scheme was pioneered in Plymouth before being rolled out to other parts of England.

Rentplus allows homeowners to buy through a combination of affordable rents and a 10 percent gifted deposit. After a period of five, 10, 15 or 20 years, the tenant can buy their property without having to find a deposit.

Mr Streeter said: “It will be greatly helped if the government changes the definition of affordable housing in the planning system, and I will be encouraging the prime minister to do this at our meeting.”

Pay council tax on second homes

Meanwhile, Sarah Wollaston, the MP for Totnes in Devon, is also part of the delegation that will meet the Prime Minister. She wants council tax to be charged on second homes that are used as holiday lets. At the moment the owners pay small business rates on those properties.

She added: “Having to pay council tax on residential property, even if rented out much of the year for holidaymakers, would give councils with high levels of second homes a much-needed boost, some of which could go to help fund genuinely affordable homes.”

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