Lib Dems pledge to build 300,000 new homes each year in bid to tackle housing 'crisis'
The Liberal Democrats have pledged to build 300,000 new homes each year in an attempt to end the "national housing crisis".
A third of the planned new properties would be for social housing, the party said, with funding coming from a £10bn capital infrastructure investment pot.
The announcement is the latest salvo in a housing arms race between the major parties, with each of them pledging to build hundreds of thousands of new homes if they are elected.
The Lib Dems said each of the 100,000 new social homes would be built to net-zero standards, while all under-30s struggling to afford a deposit would be given access to government-backed loans.
Tim Farron, the party's housing spokesman, said: "Whether renting or buying, across the country too many people - people who work hard and play by the rules - are struggling to afford good homes in in the right location. We are facing a national housing crisis.
"To meet demand we need to build 300,000 homes a year. Both Labour and the Tories, in pursuing Brexit, show they are wiling to risk 10% of our construction workers who are from the EU, making this crisis worse."
The party has also unveiled a series of measures aimed at tackling empty properties, including a commitment to devolve new powers to local authorities allowing them to increase council tax by up to 500% on second homes.
Meanwhile, a new Rent To Own scheme would see renters in social housing building an increasing stake in their property each month, before eventually owning the home after 30 years.
Mr Farron added: "Liberal Democrats will build 100,000 social homes for rent every year, to ensure that everybody has a safe and secure home. We will tackle rogue landlords with mandatory licencing, and promote long-term lettings.
"We will also tackle wasted vacant housing stock by allowing local authorities to increase council tax by up to 500 per cent where homes are left empty for more than six months.
"We are the only party with a bold plan to build a brighter future for all."
Labour has already announced plans to deliver a "revolution" in housing with the construction of 100,000 new social housing properties each year.
The Conservatives, who will launch their manifesto on Sunday, have pledged to build "at least" one million new homes over the course of the next Parliament, as well as introducing a new "lifetime" fixed mortgage to help renters get on the property ladder.
Responding to the Lib Dem plans, a Labour Party spokesperson said: "The Liberal Democrats have got their facts wrong. Labour has proposed the biggest council and social housebuilding programme since the 1960s, which would sit alongside homes built by the private sector.
"The Liberal Democrats can't hide from their responsibility for the huge cuts to housing investment which have fuelled our housing crisis.
"The only way to fix the housing crisis is through a mass programme of council and social housing - Labour is the only party which will do that."
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“The Lib Dems have faced the feared squeeze during this General Election campaign, with their poll ratings dropping slightly and the ratings of Jo Swinson taking a bigger hit.
"This bold house building policy is a clear move to fight Labour on their turf, following on from their offerings on the environment and in education, and it looks as if they’re this has seen Star revise the expectations for the amount of Lib Dem seats from around 40 to 30, with the Lib Dems 11/10 (467/61%) to win 31 or more seats.”
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