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Lib Dems announce plans to address housing shortage in Wiltshire

May 13, 2017 9:41 PM

The Liberal Democrats have announced plans to address the housing shortage and build more affordable homes.

There are currently about 2,000 families in Wiltshire on the waiting list for council homes. 2016 figure was 1853 families, an increase from 1325 in 2015.

The Liberal Democrats would introduce a legal requirement for smaller housing developments to include affordable homes, make it easier for local authorities and housing associations to borrow money and set up a new government-backed Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank.

The party would allow local authorities to hike up council tax on empty homes by up to 200%. Local authorities could also choose to impose penalties on developers who leave plots of land empty for over 3 years, to tackle so-called land-banking.

Trevor Carbin commented: "Hundreds of families in Wiltshire are struggling to find a decent and affordable home. Many young people in particular are finding it virtually impossible to get somewhere to live. At the same time, homes are sitting empty and plots of land bought by developers are not being used. The market is broken and has failed to deliver. That is why we are setting out radical plans to fix the housing crisis.

"A Conservative landslide would allow the government to take people for granted, meaning years more soaring rents and failure to build enough affordable housing.

"A better future is available. Have hope, vote Liberal Democrat and we can change Britain's future and build the affordable homes our county needs."

The details: to address the huge shortage of housing in the UK, the Liberal Democrats have committed to

  • Directly build homes to fill the gap left by the market, to help reach our house-building target of 300,000 homes a year, through a government commissioning programme to build homes for sale and rent
  • Set up a new government-backed Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank to provide long-term capital for major new settlements and house building projects
  • Enable local authorities to penalise excessive land-banking when builders with planning permission have failed to build after 3 years
  • Allow councils to levy up to 200% Council Tax on empty homes including second homes and 'buy to leave empty' investments from overseas
  • Ensure 500,000 affordable, energy-efficient homes are built over five years
  • Scrap exemptions on smaller housing development schemes from their obligation to provide affordable homes
  • Lift the borrowing cap on Local Authorities to build more social homes for rent
  • Increase borrowing capacity of Housing Associations through increased access to finance