Housing

I believe that is it the duty of government to ensure that everyone in society is housed in a safe and pleasant environment at a rate that is affordable for the person concerned.  That could mean via a mortgage, split renting/buying or by rental in various ways.  As part of localism I feel that the parish should be responsible for ensuring that all people born in the parish can find suitable housing within the the parish. Policy for housing in the wider sense should be left to regional government.  National government should be responsible for being aware of any impact its policies in other areas might impact on housing efforts of local government and for promoting good practice and auditing service provision.

What we did in government What we intend to do in the next one
Build nearly 200,000 new affordable homes Help keep house prices and rents affordable by aiming to boost house building to 300,000 a year.

Housing is a crucial issue in Britain, and I am very happy to sign up to the goal of ending the housing crisis within a generation.

Over the past four decades, successive Conservative and Labour governments have left us with a housing crisis that has forced rents higher, increased social housing waiting lists, and left millions with no hope whatsoever of getting a foot on the property ladder. Worst of all, our stock of social and affordable housing has been eroded, with over 1.5 million fewer social homes available to rent than in 1979. 1.1 million were lost under the Conservatives and a further 420,000 lost under Labour.

Liberal Democrats have known this was a problem for some time and have worked hard at the national government level to tackle the housing crisis and build more affordable homes. By the end of this parliament we will have built over 170,000 new social and affordable homes. We have also brought a record number of empty homes back into use – over 100,000 since 2010 – reducing them to their lowest level for over a decade. As a result of our work, we will be the first national government for more than thirty years to leave office with more social and affordable homes than we started with. This is a small, but important, step in the right direction, turning around a downward trend that had lasted thirty years.

We have also set out plans to boost affordable housing in the next national parliament by building 275,000 more affordable homes by 2020. Our plan will see more affordable homes built each year than in any year of the last Labour Government and will be the fastest rate of affordable housebuilding for more than twenty years.

But there’s still more to do. That’s why I am delighted that we have set out our intention to publish a long-term plan on how to increase housebuilding to 300,000 homes a year if we form a part of the next national administration. We will create a ministerial taskforce on housing to oversee this task and provide the leadership that is needed to achieve it. We will give councils more financial flexibilities to build more homes themselves, as well as make more public sector land available for housebuilding.

I want to see us do more to support tenants in the private rented sector too. As part of the national administration, we have given boroughs funds to tackle rogue landlords, with more than 1,700 now facing further action and prosecution. We have given tenants in the private rented sector the same access to a housing ombudsman as those in social housing, created a model tenancy agreement and are in the process of outlawing revenge evictions.In future, we want to introduce a new “flexi-lease” to allow tenants to agree longer tenancies of up to three years, give councils greater freedoms over landlord licensing schemes and require landlords to improve the energy efficiency of the worst properties or be banned from renting them out.

The housing crisis can be tackled, but we need clear political leadership to be able to achieve this. I am confident that Liberal Democrat plans for the future can build on our encouraging start in office and deliver the homes Britain needs.