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14/04/2015

Conservatives make housing and infrastructure commitments

Words: Laura Edgar

If elected, the Conservatives say they will invest in infrastructure to improve roads, trains and broadband while committing to help first-time buyers.  
 

The manifesto pledges that, should the party win overall power, it would invest £38 billion in the railway network until 2019, as well as committing to High Speed 2 and 3 and ensuring the completion of Crossrail. It would also push forward plans for Crossrail 2.

Further infrastructure pledges include: investing £15 billion in the road network, £6 billion of which will be spent on the Northern road network; doubling the number of journeys made by bicycle, investing £200 million in making cycling safer; and delivering faster internet.

The manifesto reaffirms David Cameron’s promise to invest in 200,000 Starter Homes for first-time buyers under 40.

The party also undertakes to extend the Help to Buy equity loan scheme until at least 2020 and introduce the Help to Buy ISA announced in the Budget. Additionally, the party aims to double the number of custom-built and self-built homes by 2020.

The manifesto also affirms that the party will continue to protect the green belt as well as supporting “locally led garden cities and towns and prioritise brownfield development, making sure new homes are always matched by the necessary infrastructure to support them”. The manifesto promises that local communities are aware that infrastructure, including schools and roads, would be provided.

Under a section titled ‘Stronger together: A Union for the 21st century’, the Conservatives explain that they will continue devolution settlements for Scotland and Wales, as well as implementing the Stormont House Agreement in Northern Ireland. It would also give English MPs “a veto over English-only matters, answering the West Lothian Question”.

Commitments made to Scotland would be honoured; a Scotland Bill would feature in the first Queen’s Speech if the party were to form the next government. Additionally, it would devolve to the Welsh Assembly “control over its own affairs”, including the Assembly name, size and electoral system. Economic powers over ports and energy consents would also be transferred.

The Welsh Government would be responsible for “raising more of the money it spends so the Welsh people can hold their politicians to account”. The Conservatives also plan to “review how we can further reduce ring-fencing and remove Whitehall burdens to give councils more flexibility to support local services”.

The Labour Party has promised an infrastructure commission while the Green Party has vowed to bring empty homes back into use.

The RTPI's breakdown of the Conservative manifesto can be found on their website.

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