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The Conservative Property Penalty

November 8, 2022 2:14 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

The British people are suffering terribly because of the chaos of this Conservative Government.

People will be paying twice as much to heat their homes this winter as they did last year. Food prices are soaring. The country is in the grip of a cost-of-living crisis.

And now, thanks to the Conservatives' disastrous mini-budget, we are facing a mortgage crisis too. Millions of families are already struggling to pay a Conservative Property Penalty of hundreds of pounds on their monthly mortgage payments.

no one should lose their homes simply as a result of the Conservatives' reckless mismanagement of our economy.

Never again can the Conservatives claim to be the party of homeowners.

They are doing nothing to help. Instead, Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt are planning to make things even worse, with more cuts to pensions and benefits, more unfair tax rises, and more cuts to essential public services.

That's not good enough. The Government must step up to help.

Liberal Democrats have consistently led the way on action to tackle the cost-of-living crisis. We were the first to call for a windfall tax on the record profits of the oil and gas giants, more than a year ago. And we were the first to call for a freeze on people's energy bills in the summer.

We have also consistently been calling on the Government to support the most vulnerable during this cost-of-living crisis, including by:

  • Reinstating the £20-a-week uplift to Universal Credit, and increasing pensions and benefits at least in line with inflation.
  • Doubling the Warm Homes Discount and extending it to all those on Universal Credit and Pension Credit, to take £300 a year off the heating bills of around 7.5 million vulnerable and low income households.
  • Doubling the Winter Fuel Payment, giving up to £600 a year to 11.3 million elderly pensioners to help with their heating bills.
  • An emergency home insulation programme to cut people's energy bills, starting with homes in or at risk of fuel poverty.

And now we say: no one should lose their homes simply as a result of the Conservatives' reckless mismanagement of our economy.

That's why the Liberal Democrats are proposing a new Mortgage Protection Fund, paid for by reversing the Conservatives' unfair and unnecessary tax cuts for the big banks.

This Fund would be targeted at those most at risk of repossession - homeowners on the lowest incomes and those seeing the sharpest rises in mortgage rates.

Anyone who sees their mortgage payments rise by more than 10% of their household income would get a grant to cover the cost of that rise for the next year, up to a maximum of £300 a month. Only the payments on someone's main home would qualify, so this would not apply to private landlords or second homes.

And it's not just homeowners who are paying the price for all this Conservative chaos, so we are also calling for the Government to act urgently to protect renters.

We are continuing our long-standing campaign for an immediate ban on "no fault" evictions, to stop landlords threatening to evict current tenants just so they can hike their rents. The Conservatives have been promising a ban for years, but failed to deliver. There should also be a moratorium on evictions purely on the grounds of rent arrears, and extended notice periods for landlords, as there was during some of the pandemic.

Liberal Democrats have long been fighting to give renters more security and protect them from unfair rent hikes, including longer tenancies of three years or more, with fair annual rent increases built in, to give renters certainty. That fight is more important now than ever.