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17/05/2017

General Election 2017: Lib Dems vow to build 300,000 homes a year

Words: Laura Edgar
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron / Shutterstock_627880952

The Liberal Democrats have set a target of building 300,000 homes a year for sale and rent as well as creating 10 new garden cities.

On housing and planning:

 

The manifesto, launched by leader Tim Farron on 17 May, outlines an ambition to build 300,000 homes a year, which is almost double the current number. It states that the homes must be “sustainably planned to ensure that excessive pressure is not placed on existing infrastructure”.

To do this, the party would establish a government-commissioning programme to build homes for sale and rent. Half a million affordable and energy-efficient homes would be built by the end of the Parliament.

The Liberal Democrats plan to build 10 new garden cities in England, comprising tens of thousands high-quality, zero-carbon homes with shared green space, jobs, schools and public transport. They would also set up a government-backed British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank that has a remit to provide long-term capital for major new settlements and would help to attract finance for housebuilding projects.

Under a Lib-Dem administration, local plans would need to take into account at least 15 years of future housing need. It would create a community right of appeal in cases where planning decisions go against the approved local plan.

Housebuilding would be enforced on unwanted public sector land; builders that have planning permission but have not built out after three years would be penalised for land-banking and local authorities would be able to end the Right to Buy if they wished.

For those who can’t afford a deposit, the Liberal Democrats would introduce a new Rent to Own model. Rent payments would give tenants an increasing stake in the property, so that they owned it outright after 30 years. Letting agents fees would be banned and upfront deposits capped.

A Help to Rent scheme would aim to help first-time renters under 30 get a home, with government-backed tenancy deposit loans.

Like Labour, the Liberal Democrats want to promote tenancies of three years or longer.

In addition, the party is committed to examining the available funding and planning rules for live music venues and the grassroots music sector, protecting venues from further closures.

On infrastructure

 

The manifesto states that Britain needs better transport infrastructure, including a modern railway system and less congestion and pollution on the roads. Local communities need to be, or need to remain, connected.

New train stations, lines and trains would be invested in, while electrification of the rail network would be continued and HS2, HS3 and Crossrail 2 would be proceeded with. This includes a high-speed network to Scotland.

The party pledges to deliver the Transport for the North strategy and complete the East West Rail that would connect Oxford and Cambridge.

On energy and the environment:

 

The Liberal Democrats are opposed to fracking because of its adverse impact on climate change, the energy mix and the local environment.

They plan to expand renewable energy if elected to government on 8 June, and aim to generate 60 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2030. They would restore government support for solar PV and onshore wind in appropriate locations as well as build more electricity interconnectors to underpin this higher reliance on renewables.

The party thinks nuclear power stations, with safety, waste and cost concerns addressed, can play a part in electricity supply.

Other measures for energy and the environment include:

  • Establishing a £2 billion flood-prevention fund for small communities and council-led schemes.
  • Creating a new designation of national nature parks to protect accessible green space.

 

The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto can be read here (pdf).


General Election 2017 manifestos:

Labour

Plaid Cymru

Conservatives

Green Party

Scottish National Party


Image credit | Shutterstock

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