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General Election 2024: Get Britain building better

The UK general election is next week! We've sifted the major political parties manifestos and pledges for notable housing and building policies.

  Conservative manifesto 2024 Green Party manifesto 2024 Labour Party manifesto 2024 LibDem manifesto 2024

 

To tackle the UK housing shortage, many of the parties are focusing their pledges on setting ambitious targets for the building of new homes, with few outlining precise details of what standard those should be built to.

With the Scottish Government's adoption of a Scottish Passivhaus equivalent coming into legislation in December 2024, Passivhaus is becoming increasingly considered at a policy level. However, the 2024 Green Party manifesto is the only party to namecheck the Passivhaus standard as part of its general election pledges.  

Labour has, however, recommitted to the (as-yet undefined) Future Homes Standard and the LibDem manifesto commits to "all new homes and non-domestic buildings to be built to a zero-carbon standard..., including being fitted with solar panels, and progressively increasing standards as technology improves". 

Retrofit policies for existing homes receive attention in all four manifestos, with a wide range of financial commitment to achieve this being put forward. To contextualise these financial commitments, the UKGBC has identified that retrofit investment needs to be in the region of £64 billion over 10 years, as part of a long term strategy.  The technical aspects of the retrofit programme are not outlined in the maniifestos, so it remains to be seen whether the programmes will adopt 'whole house retrofit' approaches, as recommended in the Passivhaus methodology. 

 

 

New build homes 

Retrofit homes

Conservative: Build more houses in the right places

Conservative manifesto 2024

Commitment to deliver 1.6 million homes in England through the next Parliament.

 

We will invest £6 billion in energy efficiency over the next three years to make around a million homes warmer. And we will fund an energy efficiency voucher scheme, open to every household in England, to support the installation of energy efficiency measures and solar panels, helping families lower their bills. 

     

Green Party: Providing fairer, greener homes

Green Party manifesto 2024

Manifesto June 2024: Long version

Commitment to deliver 150,000 new social homes a year.

Elected Greens will campaign to change building regulations so all new homes meet Passivhaus or equivalent standards and to require house builders to include solar panels and low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps for all new homes.

Supplementary evidence (supplied to Friends of the Earth/Greenpeace June 2024)

We fully back the implementation of the Future Homes Standard from 2025. Moreover, the Green Party would go further by campaigning to change building regulations so all new homes meet Passivhaus or equivalent standards ... These regulations need to be introduced as soon as possible in order ensure that new homes are future-proofed and do not require retrofitting to support the UK’s climate objectives.

Elected Greens will push for a local-authority-led, street-by-street retrofit programme to insulate our homes, provide clean heat and start to adapt our buildings to more extreme climate conditions. This would mean investment of:

  • £29bn over the next five years to insulate homes to an EPC B standard or above as part of a ten-year programme.
  • £4bn over the next five years to insulate other buildings to a high standard
  • £9bn over the next five years for low-carbon heating systems (e.g. heat pumps) for homes and other buildings

 

     

Labour: Get Britain building again

Labour Party manifesto 2024

Get Britain building again

Commitment to deliver 1.5 million new homes over the next parliament.

Labour wants exemplary development to be the norm not the exception. We will take steps to ensure we are building more high-quality, well-designed, and sustainable homes and creating places that increase climate resilience and promote nature recovery. 

Supplementary evidence (supplied to Friends of the Earth/ Greenpeace, June 2024)

We have previously stated that new houses will need to at least confirm to the Future Homes Standard. This is still our position.

 

Warm homes plan

  • Labour will invest an extra £6.6 billion over the next parliament, doubling the existing planned government investment, to upgrade five million homes to cut bills for families.
  • The Warm Homes Plan will offer grants and low interest loans to support investment in insulation and other improvements such as solar panels, batteries and low carbon heating to cut bills. We will partner with combined authorities, local and devolved governments, to roll out this plan.
  • Labour will also work with the private sector, including banks and building societies, to provide further private finance to accelerate home upgrades and low carbon heating.
  • We will ensure homes in the private rented sector meet minimum energy efficiency standards by 2030, saving renters hundreds of pounds per year. 
     

Liberal Democrats: For a fair deal

LibDem manifesto 2024

Commitment to deliver 380,00 new homes a year across the UK, including 150,000 social homes a year.

Immediately requiring all new homes and non-domestic buildings to be built to a zero-carbon standard, including being fitted with solar panels, and progressively increasing standards as technology improves.

  • We will cut emissions and bills with an emergency Home Energy Upgrade programme.

  • Make homes warmer and cheaper to heat with a ten-year emergency upgrade programme, starting with free insulation and heat pumps for those on low incomes, and ensure that all new homes are zero-carbon.

  • Launching an emergency Home Energy Upgrade programme, with free insulation and heat pumps for low-income households and a central role for local authorities in delivering this programme. Reintroducing requirements for landlords to upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties to EPC C or above by 2028. 

  • Introducing a new subsidised Energy-Saving Homes scheme, with pilots to find the most effective combination of tax incentives, loans and grants, together with advice and support.

We have also scrutinised the SNP and Plaid Cymru manifestos but have not been able to find references to energy efficient newbuild or retrofit poliicies for housing, so have not included them in our analyisis. 


You may also like 

Explore the local authorities embracing Passivhaus as well as the latest Passivhaus policy developments in the UK.

Passivhaus social housing
  Passivhaus & Planning
  Scottish Passivhaus equivalent

 

Further information

UKGBC Analysis of 2024 General Election Manifestos - 10 June 2024

RICS: UK General Election 2024: What it means for housing - 17 June 2024

Scottish equivalent to Passivhaus: FAQs

Inside Housing Comment: Healthy homes are a vote-winner – why won’t politicians see it? - 1 July 2024

BUILDING Comment: Developers’ profit margins should not be dictating UK housing policy - 14 June 2024

Friends of the Earth & Greenpeace 2024 General Election Manifesto analysis


 

LABOUR

Economy & Energy

Pg 15

We will upgrade almost all of the UK’s 27 million homes to the highest energy-efficiency standards, reducing the average household energy bill by £417 per household per year by 2030 and eliminating fuel poverty. We will introduce a zero-carbon homes standard for all new homes.

 

Focus on energy sources rather than detailed plans on efficiency

CONSERVATIVE

 

Manifesto not released yet.

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

Warm Homes and Lower Energy Bills

Pg 42

Require all new homes and non-domestic buildings to be built to a zero-carbon standard (where as much energy is generated on-site, through renewable sources, as is used), by 2021, rising to a more ambitious (‘Passivhaus’) standard by 2025.

 

Lib Dems promise all new homes will meet Passivhaus standards 

 

LibDems campaign for all new buildings to be Passivhaus by 2025 

 

 

 

GREEN PARTY

The Green New Deal for housing

Pg 13

Empower local authorities to bring empty homes back into use and create a total of 100,000 new homes for social rent (council homes) a year, built to the Passivhaus or equivalent standard. This standard will see these new homes use 90% less energy for space heating than the average home, significantly reducing household bills.

 

Transform the planning system and building regulations, so that all new buildings built by private developers are built to the Passivhaus standard (or to a standard that delivers energy efficiency at an equivalent or better level). We will enable self-build development that meets the same standards.

 

Greens promise a planning system supportive of renewable energy and the Passivhaus standard 

 

SNP

PLAID CYMRU

Housing Pg 19

£3bn home energy efficiency programme which will stimulate job creation, tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions.

 

 

1st July 2024


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