land and property


    A roadmap to decarbonisation

    10th November 2022
  • Community Right to Buy: stay focussed, go further

    Sean Benstead reflects on the Labour Party’s proposed Community Right to Buy policy and finds that, to truly deliver on its potential to disrupt wealth extraction, requires deep soul searching about the resources and expertise needed to support its implementation.

    In unveiling Labour’s proposed Community Right to Buy policy on Tuesday, Lisa Nandy shed some light on her previous commitments to “restore power, ownership and contribution to our communities”. We now know that, if Labour win the next general election, they will ensure that communities not only have an extended first refusal on designated Assets of Community Value through the current Right to Bid policy, but also on long-term vacant high street property, as well as the right to buy without competition and to force the sale of land or buildings in significant disrepair.
    “Labour expect that the Community Right to Buy will finally come good on the promise made by Community Right to Bid”
    To ensure communities have the means to exercise these rights, Labour will amend the Localism Act 2011 and further develop the Community Ownership Fund. In doing so, Labour expect that the Community Right to Buy will finally come good on the promise made by Community Right to Bid, to enable more community assets to raise revenue that can be used and passed down through the generations in a way which is driven by the wishes of the community.

    To fix England’s housing crisis, scrap Right to Buy

    The government is more interested in headlines than housing reform.

    This article originally appeared in the New Statesman.

    This week’s A Fairer Private Rented Sector white paper, proposing measures to tackle unscrupulous landlords, comes hot on the heels of announcements on boosting home ownership. Last week the government said it plans to extend the Right to Buy to tenants who rent their homes from housing associations. Yet if the government truly wants to tackle the vagaries of the private rented sector, it needs to scrap Right to Buy altogether.
    “40 per cent of ex-council properties are being rented through the private sector”
    Right to Buy was one of the most disastrous public policy interventions of recent decades. Far from creating a generation of homeowners, it has fuelled the growth of costly and poorly regulated private rented housing, the subject of this week’s fresh wave of announcements. Recent analysis has found that 40 per cent of the two million ex-council properties sold through Right to Buy are being rented through the private sector and over a third of a million private rented homes in the north fail to meet the Decent Homes Standard. The policy has contributed to an economy that, far from growing wealth for all, creates inequality and the very suffering the government is purporting to tackle.

  • Our Land 

    Today we launch the final report of the Liverpool City Region Land Commission: Our Land. Reflecting the findings of England’s first Commission to review the use of land for community wealth building, the report argues that a new approach to land should put communities, not profit, at its heart. Below, CLES’s Isaac Stanley reflects on the Commission’s nimble approach and the radical recommendations found in the report. 

    The Liverpool City Region Land Commission was launched in September 2020, at the initiative of Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram. Facilitated by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), the Commission gathered together thirteen experts on democratic land reform, ranging from activists involved in community land trusts, makerspaces and social enterprise incubation to academics and national planning policy reformers and international campaigners for the commons.
    “make this the fairest and most socially inclusive city region in the country”
    They were invited to “think imaginatively and come back…with radical recommendations for how we can make the best use of publicly-owned land to make this the fairest and most socially inclusive city region in the country”. This report, prepared by CLES, is based on the deliberations and contributions of the Commissioners and presents their key findings and recommendations.  

    Summit 2020: Land and assets for resilience

    With only two days left of 2020, we here at CLES are thinking about hope in the darkness and the prospect of local economic reform as we commence the long journey to Covid-19 recovery. In this spirit we’re sharing write ups of our policy breakout sessions from November’s Community Wealth Building Summit. Following on from John and Ellie’s blogs, today Stuart MacDonald looks at how socially productive uses of land, property and assets can support post Covid-19 local economies.

    How land and property assets are owned and managed is key to local economic outcomes. Concentrated land ownership, property speculation and landlord absenteeism all drive inequality. Wealth gained from land and property leaks out of local economies, contributing to a lack of resilience, as well as being incompatible with social and environmental progress.

    England’s First Land Commission Focused on Community Wealth Building

    Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, has today announced the establishment of England’s first Land Commission specifically established to review the use of public land for community wealth building, to be delivered in partnership with CLES.

    Since the 1980s, land has come to be primarily treated as a financial asset, serving as a collateral against which banks create mortgage debt.   This has led to rising house prices and housing shortages, and has reduced overall productivity, with an increasing share of investment diverted to land from other more productive areas.