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Housing dominates Farron’s agenda

Words: Laura Edgar

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has set out his views on how to solve the housing crisis in England at the party conference today.

Farron used his speech at the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth to talk about, among other things, the housing crisis, saying his party was the only “credible” opposition to the Conservatives.

Describing housing as the “biggest single issue” that politicians don’t talk about, Farron said the Liberal Democrats are going to be talking about, campaigning on it and going on about it, to “make a difference to the millions who have been ignored”.

He said communities across England have spent 25 years building housing association homes, “picking up the pieces of Mrs Thatcher’s destruction of council housing, and we will not allow David Cameron to destroy that work”.

Farron therefore said he would instruct Liberal Democrat peers in the House of Lords to block the Prime Minister’s plan to give housing association tenants the right to buy their homes.

The new leader also said the Liberal Democrats have a target of building 300,000 homes a year.

To achieve this, it “means bold choices”, including giving councils the freedom and power so they can borrow and start building again.

Farron also committed to building 10 new garden cities with the infrastructure they require to “thrive” as well creating a housing investment bank to bring in more money and give the industry the support it needs.

John Cridland, director-general at the Confederation of British Industry, said: “Access to affordable housing and helping first-time buyers and homeowners up the housing ladder are pressing matters for many people and businesses in the UK. Given the worrying extent of the housing shortage, we must make best use of land and keep innovative solutions, like a new housing investment bank, on the table so that we can meet rapidly growing demand.

“We should be building hundreds of thousands of new homes every year and so getting behind the construction of new garden cities could make a major contribution towards this goal.”

Image courtesy of the Liberal Democrats