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20/04/2016

Scottish Lib Dems vow to support affordable homes

Words: Laura Edgar
Willie Rennie

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have committed to boosting the number of affordable homes by 50,000 over five years and to build a low-carbon transport system in the party's campaign in the Scottish election.

The election will take place on 5 May.

Housing

 

The lack of affordable homes, according to Be The Best Again, limits the ability of people to get on in life, achieve their potential or provide security for their families.

Therefore, the party pledges to increase the number of affordable homes by 50,000 over the next Parliament, with 40,000 of these for social rent. It adds that with private house building returning to pre-recession levels, “110,000 new homes will have brought into use by 2021, with one third of those for affordable rent”.

To do this, the party plans to expand the Housing Fund for Scotland to deliver 12,000 homes; use a proportion of any future Barnett monies to fund new housing association properties as well as help-to-buy schemes; renew the empty homes strategies to bring as many as possible of the 27,000 homes back into use; and work with British Business Bank to help direct support to small and medium-sized builders.

Planning

 

The manifesto says the Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue the review of Scottish planning policy and practice to ensure a system of development planning that “supports the appropriate delivery of housing and other infrastructure, support environmental protection and addresses community engagement”.

The party promises to tackle the “barriers” faced by each renewable energy technology in a number of ways, including to make it “easier” to re-power existing wind farm through changes to planning regulations.

Transport

 

The party outlines its commitment to building a low-carbon transport system in the manifesto.

It says the party would accelerate plans to speed up rail services from the central belt to Aberdeen and Inverness as well as improve cross-rail services through Scottish cities.

There are also plans to install contactless payment for travel across Scotland.

The manifesto explains that the Scottish Liberal Democrats are planning "strategic investments" to improve the safety and quality of roads, such as taking forward plans to improved the A82, A9 and A96.

Increasing the support for ferry routes serving the Northern Isles and increasing the transport budget that is spent on cycling are also included in the manifesto.

Energy

 

The manifesto says the party would “establish improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes as a national infrastructure project”.

To support renewable heat, the party would take forward the recommendations of the Expert Commission on district heating and support the method, and give powers to local authorities to create a Municipal Energy Strategy to help them support, “through planning and investment, the development of renewable heat networks”.

A programme would be started now to start a new programme to help to plan the switch from fossil fuel appliances at home and in business to other forms of energy.

The manifesto states the party would: “Support diverse technologies for renewable energy, including research into hydrogen technology and energy storage at Scottish universities together with support for solar, micro-hydro, bio-energy and anaerobic digestion.”


Be the best again can be found here (pdf).


Image credit | Liberal Democrats

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