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LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PUBLISH HOUSING POLICY

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New plans to tackle the housing crisis were launched today by the Liberal Democrats. ...
New plans to tackle the housing crisis were launched today by the Liberal Democrats.

'A Home of Your Own' contains Liberal Democrat proposals for tackling homelessness, ensuring good quality homes for all, and how housing relates to the wider community. They will take the party into the next election with the most comprehensive housing programme of any political party.

The key proposals are:

-- Taking action to tackle homelessness. Liberal Democrats will reintroduce loans to cover rent deposits and restore the payment of housing benefit in advance. We will introduce an Empty Homes Strategy giving local authorities powers to bring into use any property left empty without reasonable cause for more than one year. We will fund more short stay hostel places, as a temporary measure to reduce the use of bed and breakfast accommodation.

-- Helping people keep their own home. We will ensure that financial support goes to those who need it most, whether they rent or own their own homes and promote flexible forms of tenure. We will introduce a Mortgage Benefit for those on low incomes or Income Support, funded by phasing out Mortgage Interest Tax Relief.

-- Investing in new homes. We will build a partnership between the private and public sectors to develop high quality and affordable rented housing. We will give local authorities greater financial autonomy over their spending to meet local housing need. We will enable them to go direct to the market to raise funds for capital projects and use capital receipts from the past sales of council houses to fund the construction of new homes for people in social need.

Housing spokeswoman Diana Maddock said:

'After 17 years of Conservative government people do not feel secure in their own homes. Nearly 1,000 households are being repossessed every week. The fabric of our public housing is crumbling. Private tenants are more insecure than ever before. People in very type of home have been failed by the government.

'These Liberal Democrat policies would allow people to feel secure in their homes. We would introduce a comprehensive package of measures to stem the flow of repossessions, including a mortgage benefit.

'We would reform the outdated public accounting rules which prevent local authorities investing in new homes and repairing their old ones. We would give public sector tenants a greater say over how their estates are run. We would create a level playing field between home owners and tenants in a more flexible housing market.

'Liberal Democrat policies would mean wider choice and greater security for all in housing, so people could feel their homes were their own again.'

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