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NEW APPROACH URGENTLY NEEDED TO INCREASE AFFORDABLE HOMES - FOSTER

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Liberal Democrat local government spokesman Don Foster will use today's...
Liberal Democrat local government spokesman Don Foster will use today's

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.'

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