In the build-up to the general election in three week’s time, the Liberal Democrats have announced plans to tackle the housing shortage in Hackney.
With more than 11,000 families on the waiting list for council homes in Hackney, the Lib Dems aim to create affordable and convenient housing for the borough.
The party has revealed it will be attempting to build 300,000 homes a year with the help of a government commissioning programme nationally but have not specified the number of houses it will build in the borough that has been experiencing a housing crisis. Building these homes would help narrow the gap that is left by the market and they will be available both for sale and rent.
Joe Richards, Liberal Democrat candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington said: “Thousands of families in Hackney are struggling to find a decent and affordable place to call home.
“The market is broken and has failed to deliver. That is why we are setting out radical plans to fix the housing crisis.”
The Lib Dems also intend to set up a specialised bank backed by the government, which will deal with providing long-term support to the housing projects in the form of capital.
The party will also look to provide local building authorities to penalise any builders or project heads who are not able to deliver homes three years after receiving their planning permission from the councils and local authorities. This will ensure a more comprehensive planning committee and will also obligate the builders to move swiftly.
The Lib Dems intend to levy a heavy tax on the empty houses and houses owned by foreign nationals who use the houses as a second home. The taxes could be as high as 200 per cent.
Along with the 300,000 new houses, the party will also take the responsibility of building 500,000 energy-efficient homes over a period of five years if elected.
A spokesperson for the Lib Dems told Eastlondonlines: “Hackney is in a Labour controlled council and has a Labour elected Mayor. Labour have a very poor record on housing in Hackney and even recently we have developments going through with a very low affordable tenure mixes.
“One of our priorities at the Hackney Lib Dems is to continue to campaign hard beyond the General Election campaign to get Liberal Democrat councillors elected in May 2018 local elections so that we can make the best of our national manifesto proposals and use the additional powers and investment locally to build more proper council homes as ‘affordable’ homes are often anything but for people in Hackney.”
The Liberal Democrats would scrap exemptions on smaller housing development schemes from their obligation to provide affordable homes.
One of the major agendas they hope can help solve housing issues not only in Hackney but nationwide is empowering the local authorities. Their scheme clearly highlights this solution.
The party spokesperson also made a strong statement when he said: “It is vital that Hackney elects Liberal Democrat MPs and Lib Dem councillors next year so we can sort out the housing mess in Hackney that Labour have overseen for decades.”