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Tories accused of ditching manifesto pledge to scrap ground rents

by danielbarker on 5 April, 2024

Taken from an article by MARC DA SILVA

The Conservatives have been accused of ditching their manifesto pledge to reduce ground rents to zero, after reports that Michael Gove is struggling to gain significant support within his part to reform current leaseholds.

Gove, the housing secretary, has been overseeing plans to overhaul the system in a reform bill, but key provisions to were notably absent when the legislation was published in November.

After a consultation on caps to ground rents that closed in January, Gove had suggested that reducing ground rents to a token “peppercorn” rate could be added to the bill during its passage through parliament.

He told the Sun in February: “Before a general election I think what we can do is show that we will have passed into legislation, a lever, a rapid move to peppercorn or a stage-by-stage process whereby we get there.”

But the Sunday Times reported yesterday that Gove was failing to persuade his colleagues that the peppercorn rent plan was worth backing.

It has been reported that one possibility is that a compromise £250 annual cap on ground rents could be reduced instead.

Gove had pledged to end the leasehold system altogether, calling it “outdated” and “feudal”. Millions of property owners own their homes through leases in England and Wales, which are almost the only places in the world where the system exists.

In its current form, the bill makes a series of reforms, including extending the default length of a lease and making it cheaper to convert leaseholds into freeholds.

Nevertheless, the manifesto pledge to “restrict ground rents to a peppercorn” has not been forthcoming after resistance from ministers and the Treasury.

Promoted by Dan Barker, Walsall Liberal Democrats. Liberal Democrats, 1 Vincent Square, SW1P 2PN

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