Manifestos at a glance: Labour, Conservatives, and Liberal Democrats

Ahead of the 2024 General Election on 4 July, the political parties have published their manifestos, setting out a programme of government for the next Parliament, including policies on energy, housing, and planning.

Each manifesto comprises a long document of pledges and partisan rhetoric, so to help you understand the various positions of each of the three major parties in England – the Conservatives, Labour, and Liberal Democrats – the team at Thirty4/7 have pulled together a list and short summary of each policy area.


  • Annual licensing rounds for oil and gas production from the North Sea.
  • Build new gas power stations to prevent the prospect of blackouts.
  • Treble offshore wind capacity and support the development of industrial clusters in places like the North East of England, Scotland and Wales.
  • Build the first two carbon capture and storage clusters in North Wales and the North West of England and Teesside and the Humber.
  • Invest £1.1 billion into the Green Industries Growth Accelerator to support British manufacturing capabilities, boosting supply chains and ensure the energy transition is made in Britain. Ensure democratic consent for onshore wind to ensure that host communities benefit directly.
  • Support for solar in the right places, not on best agricultural land, whilst making it easier for solar to be situated on brownfield land and rooftops, and rules to prevent the clustering of multiple solar farms in one area.
  • Scale up nuclear power by halving of the time taken for new nuclear reactors to be approved by allowing regulators to assess projects whilst designs are being finalised and speeding up planning and environmental approvals and the approval of two new fleets of Small Modular Reactors.
  • Implement a new import carbon pricing mechanism by 2027 to ensure imports from countries with a lower or no carbon price will face a comparable price to goods produced in the UK.
  • Lowering green levies on household bills and maintaining the energy price cap.
  • Cutting waiting times for a grid connection with a review into alternative network technologies compared to overhead pylons, and consideration of a move to a presumption in favour of undergrounding where possible.
  • Help the UK to become a net exporter of electricity by building more electricity lines with neighbouring countries.
  • Set up Great British Energy, a publicly owned clean power company to cut bills for good and boost energy security, with £8.3 billion over the next Parliament.
  • Make Britain a clean energy superpower – to cut bills, create jobs, deliver security with cheaper, zero-carbon electricity by 2030, accelerating to net zero.
  • Work with the private sector to double onshore wind, triple solar power, and quadruple offshore wind by 2030 through the framework of a new Energy Independence Act.
  • Invest in carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, and marine energy, and ensure we have the long-term energy storage our country needs.
  • Implement the Green Prosperity Plan and a new National Wealth Fund to create, in partnership with business, 650,000 jobs in the energy sector.
  • Ensure long-term security of the nuclear sector, extending the lifetime of existing plants, and securing the future of Hinkley Point C. Also support for new nuclear power stations and Small Modular Reactors.
  • Maintenance of a strategic reserve of gas power stations to guarantee supply, whilst implementing a transition in the North Sea and not issuing new licenses.
  • Upgrade the national transmission infrastructure and rewire Britain, with a focus on local power generation to reduce pressures on the grid.
  • Reward clean energy developers with a British Jobs Bonus to incentivise firms who offer good jobs and build their manufacturing supply chains in industrial heartlands, coastal areas, and energy communities.
Liberal Democrats
  • Commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045 at the latest.
  • Makes homes warmer and cheaper to heat with a 10-year emergency upgrade programme, starting with free insultation and heat pumps for those on low income and ensure that all new homes are zero-carbon.
  • Drive a rooftop solar revolution by expanding incentives for households to install solar panels.
  • Invest in renewable power so that 90% of the UK’s electricity is generated from renewables by 2030.
  • Removing the Conservatives restrictions on new solar and wind power and supporting investment and innovation in tidal and wave power in particular.
  • Building the grid infrastructure required, facilitated by a strategic land and sea use framework.
  • Invest in energy storage, including green hydrogen, pumped storage, and battery capability.
  • Requiring large energy suppliers to work with community schemes to sell the power they generate to local customers.
  • Reducing access costs for grid connections and reforming the energy network to permit local energy grids.
  • Restore international development spending to 0.7% of national income, with climate action a key priority for development spending.

With the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and the subsequent rocketing of household energy bills, the issue of energy security is a prominent concern at this election.

Labour has made energy security one of its five core ‘missions’ for government, pledging an ambitious target of reach zero carbon electricity by 2030, to be fulfilled by sizeable increases in renewable energy generation. Labour has consequently stated that its commitment to economic growth will be operationalised in large part by its plan for Britain to become a clean energy superpower, making the growth of the low carbon economy a key priority for a potential Labour government.

The Conservatives, for their part, have diluted their energy policies since the 2019 General Election, stepping away from commitments on solar and wind energy made in the British Energy Security Strategy (2022) and focusing their energy policy on offshore wind, nuclear power, and new licensing for oil and gas. Rishi Sunak has frequently labelled this shift as a ‘pragmatic’ transition to net zero, warning voters that Labour’s plans for clean energy would place an undue burden on working families whilst seeking to create a dividing line on the question of the North Sea transition.

The Liberal Democrats have sought to outflank Labour on energy policy, with a commitment to reaching net zero by 2045 – five years earlier than currently set in law. The party has expressed support for the upscaling of renewable energy whilst unveiling policies on insulation and decarbonisation for households.

Housing policies

  • Commitment to building 1.6 million new homes in England in the next Parliament, including the 100,000 currently blocked by legacy EU ‘nutrient neutrality’ rules. A record number of homes will be developed on brownfield land in the 20 largest cities by fast-tracking them through the planning system, with strong design codes to ensure the gentle densification of urban areas.
  • A new and improved Help to Buy scheme offering an equity loan of up to 20% with a 5% deposit and permanently implementing the first-time buyer Stamp Duty threshold to £425,000.
  • Provide 105 towns with £20 million endowment fund to fund the revival of high streets and the provision of new housing in town centres.
  • Making sure local authorities use the new Infrastructure Levy to deliver the GP surgeries, roads, and other local infrastructure needed to support homes.
  • Complete the process of leasehold reform, capping ground rents at £250, reducing them to peppercorn over time.
  • A review into the possible extension of ‘full expensing’ to the delivery of brownfield housing.
  • Committing to protect the Green Belt from uncontrolled development, while ensuring more homes get built where it makes sense, like in inner cities.
  • Commitment to building 1.5 million new homes over the next Parliament, with the restoration of mandatory housing targets for local authorities and the strengthening of the presumption in favour of sustainable development.
  • Requiring that local authorities have an up-to-date Local Plan, to be implemented through funding for additional planning officers. Where necessary, Labour commit to using intervention powers to force the building of houses where needed.
  • Adoption of a brownfield-first approach and the fast-tracking approval of urban brownfield sites, whilst acknowledging that brownfield alone will not be sufficient to meet demand.
  • Commitment to preserving the greenbelt whilst taking a strategic approach to greenbelt land designation and release, with lower quality ‘grey belt’ land to be prioritised for release, alongside the introduction of ‘golden rules’ to ensure development benefits communities and nature.
  • In partnership with local leaders and communities, a Labour Government will build a new generation of new towns. Alongside urban extensions and regeneration projects, these will form part of a series of large-scale new communities across England.
  • Creation of new mechanisms for cross-boundary strategic planning, with a new requirement that all Combined and Mayoral Authorities strategically plan for housing growth, with new powers to make better use of grant funding.
  • Delivery of the biggest increase in social and affordable housebuilding in a generation, with strengthened planning obligations to ensure the provision of affordable homes and support for councils and housing associations to make a greater contribution to supply.
  • Commitment to make exemplary development the norm not the exception, with steps to ensure the building of more high-quality, well-designed, and sustainable homes and creating places that increase climate resilience and sustainable homes.
  • Introduction of a permanent comprehensive mortgage guarantee scheme to support first-time buyers, with restrictions on sales of new-builds to international investors.
Liberal Democrats
  • Increasing building of new homes to 380,000 a year across the UK, including 150,000 social homes a year, through 10 new garden cities and community-led development of cities and towns.
  • Giving local authorities, including National Park Authorities the powers to end Right to Buy in their areas.
  • Abolishing residential leaseholds and capping ground rents to a nominal fee, so that everyone has control over their property.
  • Introducing a new Rent to Own model for social housing where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning outright after 30 years.
  • Giving local authorities new powers to control second homes and short-term lets.

Housing is also a key issue at this election, as house prices and rents continue to soar, housebuilding rates fall, and first-time buyers remain locked out of the market.

The Conservatives commit to building 1.5 million new homes in England over the course of five years (plus an additional 100,000 currently blocked by legacy EU regulations); notably, the party has dropped its previous target to build 300,000 new homes a year. There is also a commitment to resurrect Help to Buy, albeit in a different form, to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder, as well as a pledge to complete leasehold reform – a hangover from the previous Parliament.

Labour has committed to building 1.5 million homes over five years, with Keir Starmer explaining that annual housebuilding rates would climb each year over the first term of a Labour government – if this pledge is to be fulfilled, housebuilding will likely have to reach an annual rate of between 300,000 – 400,000 by 2028/29 – a rate not seen since the 1960s. Central to this pledge is a promise to reform the planning system to allow quicker rates of housebuilding, preferably on brownfield land, but also through the release of ‘grey belt’ land from the greenbelt, as well as the creation of new towns. Labour has yet to provide further detail on how this would be implemented, but there is thought to be a preference for devolving planning decisions over housing to the regional/mayoral level.

The Liberal Democrats commit to building 380,000 homes a year which, extrapolated across a five-year term, would equal 1.9 million homes – a very big statement. Aside from the creation of ten garden cities and support for community-led development, there is little clarity on just how the Lib Dems would achieve such a mammoth feat.

Consequently, experts remain sceptical about whether any party can reignite housebuilding to levels not seen since the mid-twentieth century – it is likely that any serious reform will have to reassess how the Town and Country Planning framework operates, and crucially, who decides where houses are built.

Planning policies

  • Introduce reforms to outdated EU red tape, particularly the environmental impact assessment regime, to better protect nature while enabling the building of new homes, prisons, and energy schemes.
  • Ensure any requirements to offset the impact of new infrastructure and homes on an area are proportionate, without compromising environmental outcomes.
  • Ensure National Policy Statements are regularly updated and reduce the cost of infrastructure by allowing quicker changes to consented projects.
  • Focus the role of statutory consultees in the planning system on improving projects in line with clearer objectives, rather than piecemeal requirements that add delays.
  • End frivolous legal challenges that frustrate infrastructure delivery by amending the law so judicial reviews that don’t have merit do not waste court time.
  • Creation of a new National Infrastructure and Service Transformation Authority to set strategic infrastructure priorities and oversee the design and delivery of projects, to be aligned with a ten-year infrastructure strategy and industrial strategy.
  • Update the National Planning Policy Framework and set out new national policy statements (NPSs) to make major projects faster and cheaper by slashing red tape and building support for developments by ensuring that communities directly benefit.
  • Support local authorities by funding 300 additional planning officers, through increasing the rate of the stamp duty surcharge paid by non-UK residents.
  • Deepening of devolution settlements for existing Combined Authorities, with local areas able to gain new powers over transport, skills, housing, and planning.
Liberal Democrats
  • Introduce a strategic Land and Sea Use Framework to effectively balance competing demands on land and ocean.
  • Ensuring that all developments have appropriate infrastructure, services, and amenities in lace, integrating infrastructure and public service delivery into the planning process.
  • Expanding Neighbourhood Planning across England.
  • Ensure new developments result in significant biodiversity net gain with up to 100% net gain for large developments.
  • Introducing ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ planning permission for developers who refuse to build.
  • Properly funding planning departments to improve planning outcomes and ensuring that houses are not built on areas of high flood risk without adequate mitigation.
  • Allowing councils to buy land for housing based on current use value rather than on a hope-value basis by reforming the Land Compensation Act 1961.

At the last general election, the Conservatives committed to enacting full-scale planning reform to deliver the homes and infrastructure needed. Whilst plans were developed for the creation of a zonal planning system, this was abandoned in 2021 following the loss of the Chesham and Amersham by-election and concerns that the Tories would lose rural voters in the home counties. Labour, who at the time criticised Boris Johnson’s plans for planning reform, has now placed it at the core of its election offering, stating that economic growth and prosperity are held back by the UK’s sclerotic planning system. Commitments to reform the NPPF and national policy statements have been made, but beyond vague support for cutting red tape, the party has yet to set out in full how it will fundamentally restructure planning.

The Conservatives have also pledged to review national planning policy statements and cut red tape, particularly through reform of EU legacy rules such as the environmental impact assessment. The Liberal Democrats have committed to focusing on neighbourhood plan whilst establishing new frameworks for land and sea development, as well as punishing developers who land bank.

Fundamentally, whilst all three parties refer to the need for quicker decision-making and the delivery of key infrastructure alongside new housing, there is a lack of detail on specifics, namely just how the NPPF will change and how said change will unblock the pipeline of development.


The manifestos set out a basis by which each of the three major English parties propose to govern. Whatever the result of the general election, the devil will be in the detail, and it is unlikely that voters, businesses, and developers will get any further clarity until the King’s Speech on 17 July, and the subsequent white papers and legislation that derives from it.

Throughout this moment of political change, Thirty4/7 is here to provide expert insight into the various issues facing the energy and housing sectors, and if you have any questions as to how these changes might affect your business, please do get in touch.