The Liberal Democrats have pledged to build 300,000 homes per year, of which 100,000 would be for social rent, if they are elected in the upcoming general election.
The commitment, included in the party’s election manifesto, is part of a £130bn capital infrastructure budget, which will also see investments in public transport, broadband, schools and hospitals.
Released today, the manifesto includes a pledge to introduce a new Rent to Own model for social housing, through which tenants would gain an increasing stake in their property through renting, which would allow them to own it outright after 30 years.
The party has also committed to ensuring all new homes and non-domestic buildings are built to a zero-carbon standard by 2021, rising to a more ambitious Passivhaus standard by 2025.
A Liberal Democrats government would also pledge to end rough sleeping by 2025, two years earlier than the current government’s 2027 target, the manifesto has pledged.
Other housing policies in the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto include:
- Cut energy bills, end fuel poverty by 2025 and reduce emissions from buildings by providing free retrofits for low-income homes, piloting a new energy-saving homes scheme, graduating stamp duty land tax by the energy rating of the property and reducing VAT on home insulation.
- Devolve full control of Right to Buy to local councils.
- Urgently publish a cross-Whitehall plan to end all forms of homelessness.
- Legislate for longer-term tenancies and limits on annual rent increases.
- Allow local authorities to increase council tax by up to 500% where homes are being bought as second homes, with a stamp duty surcharge on overseas residents purchasing such properties.
- Help young people into the private rental market by establishing a new Help to Rent scheme to provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time renters under 30.
The Liberal Democrats manifesto comes as the Labour Party announced plans to build 100,000 council homes and 50,000 “genuinely affordable homes” via housing associations per year, within five years.
Latest government figures, released today, show that 57,485 affordable homes were built in England last year, of which 6,287 were for social rent.
The Conservative Party has yet to publish its manifesto, but is expected to next week.