AN END to the archaic and exploitative leasehold system could at last be in sight.

In the last two weeks both the Conservative Government and the Labour Party have set out ambitious proposals to smash the scandal and alleviate the suffering of thousands of people in Bury and UK.

The leasehold practice, which dates back to the Middle Ages, has saddled householder's with extortionate ground rents, arbitrary charges, and left them unable to sell up and move out.

Unscrupulous property companies and lawyers have exploited this system and made many Bury residents' lives a living nightmare.

Two weeks ago the Government announced proposals including zero ground rent on new properties and a pledge to pass legislation ensuring all new-build houses are sold as freeholds.

The plans have rightly been dubbed "monumental" by reformers. However there has been no definitive time scale given for their implementation, and these measures do little to assuage the crippling burden endured by those already suffering under the scandal.

This week Labour announced its own proposals, including a ban on the of the sale of new leasehold houses and flats, and the option for leaseholders to buy the freehold for one per cent of their property's value.

The proposals also include an end to ground rents for new homes and a cap of 0.1 per cent for existing leaseholders.

These plans go further than the Government's and may prove a catalyst for the Tory's to follow suit and incorporate the additional measures promised.

Nonetheless pledges made in opposition often fall by the wayside or prove impossible to implement once a party finds itself in power.

It now remains to be seen whether these announcements are more than just hot air and will finally begin to redress the long-neglected crisis.