The Liberal Democrats have announced plans to address the housing shortage in the New Forest and build more affordable homes.
There are currently 3,813 families in the New Forest on a waiting list for council homes, down from 4,021 last year.
In addition, official figures show 474 homes in the New Forest have been empty for over six months.
The Liberal Democrats would introduce a legal requirement for smaller housing developments to include affordable homes, make it easier for local authorities and housing associations to borrow money and set up a new government-backed Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank.
The party would allow local authorities to hike up council tax on empty homes by up to 200%, including second homes. Local authorities could also choose to impose penalties on developers who leave plots of land empty for over 3 years, to tackle so-called land-banking.
Local Liberal Democrat Chair, Jack Davies, commented:
“Hundreds of families in the New Forest are struggling to find a decent and affordable place to call home.
“Many young people in particular are finding it virtually impossible to get on the housing ladder.
“At the same time, homes are sitting empty and plots of land bought by developers are not being used.
“The market is broken and has failed to deliver. That is why we are setting out radical plans to fix the housing crisis.
“A Conservative landslide would allow the government to take people for granted, meaning years more soaring rents and failure to build enough affordable housing.
“A better future is available. Have hope, vote Liberal Democrat and we can change Britain’s future and build the affordable homes the New Forest needs.”
Notes for editors
Long-term vacant dwelling by local authority here (table 611)
Number of households on local authorities’ housing waiting list here (table 600)
To address the huge shortage of housing in the UK, the Liberal Democrats have committed to:
Directly build homes to fill the gap left by the market, to help reach our house-building target of 300,000 homes a year, through a government commissioning programme to build homes for sale and rent
Set up a new government-backed Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank to provide long-term capital for major new settlements and house building projects
Enable local authorities to penalise excessive land-banking when builders with planning permission have failed to build after 3 years
Allow councils to levy up to 200% Council Tax on empty homes including second homes and ‘buy to leave empty’ investments from overseas
Ensure 500,000 affordable, energy-efficient homes are built over five years
Scrap exemptions on smaller housing development schemes from their obligation to provide affordable homes
Lift the borrowing cap on Local Authorities to build more social homes for rent
Increase borrowing capacity of Housing Associations through increased access to finance