Liberal Democrat opposition day debate to call for local councils to be
given more freedom to fight the affordable housing crisis. Liberal Democrats
will also call for measures to end abuse of the `right to buy' scheme.
Commenting ahead of the debate, Mr Foster said:
'Local authorities are best placed to assess local need for affordable
housing. It is local authorities, not central government, who should be
directing and integrating housing policy.
'Councils should, independent of the Treasury, be able to borrow against
future rents to secure more affordable housing. 80,000 empty properties in
the UK are under local authority control and should be made habitable as
soon as possible.
'Harmonising the VAT charged on new build and renovation at 5% would be a
boost to that effort. Local people must have the power to find solutions to
local housing problems.'
Liberal Democrat housing spokesman Adrian Sanders said:
'Action is needed to close loopholes which enable abuse of the right to buy
scheme. We have to ensure that a supply of affordable housing is retained so
that people can get onto the property ladder.
'In areas where there are acute problems, there may be a case for not
extending the right to buy further.
'So much can be done without threatening a blade of greenfield grass. In
rural areas, young people often have to move away from home because they
can't afford local properties.
'Having accepted the Liberal Democrat case for an end to the council tax
rebate on second homes, the Government must now implement it.'