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Lib Dems unveil manifesto and bring out housing target pledge

Lib Dems unveil manifesto and bring out housing target pledge
Anna Sagar
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Anna Sagar

The Liberal Democrats have promised to build more homes, bring back rental reforms and give local authorities more planning power.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey (pictured) unveiled the party’s 116-page manifesto yesterday (10 June), with pledges for the NHS and social care dominating the headlines.

The party has pledged to build 380,000 homes per year across the UK, which includes 150,000 social homes, through garden cities and “community-led developments”.

The current Government pledged to build 300,000 new homes per year in its 2019 manifesto, a target that remains unmet.

The manifesto added that it would immediately ban no-fault evictions, a key measure in the aborted Renters Reform Bill, make three-year tenancies the default and create a national register for landlords, also a key Renters Reform Bill measure.

It stated that it would give local authorities the powers to end Right to Buy in their areas and work to end rough sleeping within the next Parliament through a variety of measures.

The Liberal Democrats added that it would abolish leaseholds and cap ground rents to a nominal fee.

There was much criticism over the recently passed Leasehold and Reform Act as it did not include any cap on ground rents.

The party added that it would help people who cannot afford a deposit to own their homes by bringing out a Rent to Own model for social housing, where rental payments increase a tenant’s stake and they can own it outright after 30 years.

Getting into the housing specifics

Digging into housing in the manifesto, the Liberal Democrats said that it would grow housebuilding by expanding neighbourhood planning across England, build 10 new garden cities, allow councils to buy land for housing based on current rather than projected values and improve planning funding at councils to improve outcomes.

The party added that it would encourage the use of rural exception sites to expand rural housing, trial community land auctions, encourage brownfield sites with incentives, bring out use it or lose it planning permission for development and invest in sustainability skills, training and technology for the construction sector.

The Liberal Democrats said it would ensure developments have proper infrastructure, services and amenities and embark on a 10-year upgrade to ensure new homes are zero carbon.

The party added that it would remove dangerous cladding from all buildings and ensure leaseholders would not have to pay and give local authorities new powers to control second homes and short-term lets.

Finally, the group said that it would protect social renters rights by encouraging clear standards, including a strict time limit for repairs and fully recognising tenant panels.

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