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Tories look at extending Community Land Trusts

The Conservative Party has set up a task force to investigate how the extension of Community Land Trusts could help more first-time buyers get on the property ladder.

Shadow housing minister Michael Gove last week revealed that he is to head the task force and assemble a team of lawyers, land owners, CLT pioneers, planners and local government leaders to break down barriers to the rapid growth of CLTs.

The task force aims to propose solutions to unlock the benefits of development for the community and extend home ownership.

CLTs allow land to be released for development which is then owned by a not-for-profit organisation, meaning houses that are built on the land can be made available to purchasers at about half the price they would otherwise pay.

Owners can sell on their properties and benefit from any increase in the value of the bricks and mortar while the land remains in the hands of the CLT.

CLTs also allow those with limited incomes to get on the property ladder by giving families the chance to acquire a slice of equity, typically by paying a fixed percentage of their income. They can later staircase up their level of ownership.

Gove says: “The sad fact is that the dream of home ownership is literally a dream for too many who can’t imagine finding a deposit. That’s why the Conservative Party is establishing a task force to explore how we can bring down the barriers to home ownership.”

The first CLT in the US, where the model has been successful, was set up by Martin Luther King in 1967 to secure affordable access to land for African-American workers.

Gove adds: “By following the example set by pioneers such as Dr King, the dream can become a reality for many more people.”

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