Time to take more decisive action

The Coalitions deficit reduction plan was right in 2010. We were right to stick with it into 2012. But, largely for reasons beyond the government’s control, we need to modify the plan now and get on much more quickly with infrastructure developments – particularly house building. Liberal Democrats would increase the rate of house building to 300,000 homes per year.

Funded by public sector pension funds, the 300,000 properties a year target would more than double the current rate of house building. In the 12 months to March 2012, only 118,000 homes were completed in England, according to the Homes and Communities Agency.

We are also proposing ‘build now, pay later’ deals for public land to improve supply, while community land auctions and "use it or lose it" planning permissions will tackle the practice of land banking which stalls development.

Proposals to be discussed at our party conference also highlight the need to make housing sustainable, and set out plans to empower councils, communities, tenants, small organisations and local co-operatives. Private tenants would benefit from increased protection through longer tenancies and access to an ombudsman under the Lib Dems, and the party will also consider compulsory licenses for private landlords with their local authority.

Communities and housing associations will also be given a greater role in bringing empty homes back into use and individuals will be eligible for loans to renovate empty properties and reduced VAT on renovation work.

Roy Wood commented; “The coalition government is working pretty well as no sensible person could have believed that two such different parties could work together without significant tensions and disagreements. However, as well as making the government work effectively, Liberal Democrats are continuing to develop new ideas to help our economy return to growth and to deliver on our ‘Fairness’ agenda.”