Today the Liberal Democrats are leading an Opposition Day Debate on Housing, to highlight the problems of rising house prices and too few affordable homes. Tim Farron has written the following article for Times Red Box:
Today is a Liberal Democrat led debate in the Commons. I think when you pick a debate like this, the public get to see what kind of party you are and where your priorities lie.
Today, we have chosen to debate young people and the housing ladder.
We plan to speak for the millions of people being priced out from the dream of owning a home.
Those small-l liberal, entrepreneurial people who have not had the opportunity that my generation had to own a home.
Millions must now pay soaring rents, often for poor quality and inadequate accommodation, or rely on the Bank of Mum and Dad to get by. I hope to shine a light on this today, and shame the Government into action.
For millions of young people the chance to get the excitement of being handed over the keys to a home they can call their own is just that –a dream that is fading away fast.
This government love to talk about aspiration, but it means nothing whilst they are kicking the ladder from under countless people who simply aspire to live somewhere safe, affordable and secure.
For far too long Britain has built far fewer homes than we need. A huge increase in supply of new homes is needed – currently only about half the number needed are being built.
People see TV pictures of the Chancellor and other senior ministers donning hi-vis jackets and touring building sites.
But this image runs counter to millions of hard working, aspirational and entrepreneurial people who live in all four corners of the UK.
They deserve more than words, they deserve a home to call their own.
The Government has produced a target figure of 1 million new homes by 2020. But it has not published any long term projections about how many houses it plans to ensure are built over the next twenty or thirty years.
Housing is too important to rely on short term planning. It is vital that the Government publishes a long term plan of how it will ensure enough homes are built to meet the needs of future generations.
Research we have released today shows that young graduates face a bleak housing future.
The average house price will top £1million within 16 years, and the average property price in the UK will reach £650,000 within a decade, an increase of £360,000 on today’s average price.
Big problems need big solutions. But this Government’s current plans are merely a poor sticking plaster.
Liberal Democrats have laid out plans for a forward thinking solution to this problem of our time.
We need radical, ambitious action to deliver the homes we need. The only answers are found in big solutions – new garden cities, allowing councils to borrow to build housing stock, and bringing thousands of empty homes back into use.
The government can take a leaf out of Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat Mayoral candidate, who has promised an ‘Olympic effort” when she becomes Mayor of London that would deliver more 50,000 new low rent ‘council’ homes over the next four years.
They would be built by a new construction company operating out of City Hall – delivering a scale of homebuilding not seen since the days of the London County Council and the Greater London Council.
It is time for the Government to stop tinkering around the edges of the problem and actually get to work on tackling this crisis.
So this morning, my call is clear – I am asking Conservative, Labour and SNP MPs to put aside party loyalties, and to back our reasonable and considered plans.
Support our petition for more affordable homes: http://change.libdems.org.uk/housing