Liberal Democrats promise 300,000 new homes a year

Liberal Democrats promise 300,000 new homes a year

The Liberal Democrats have vowed to raise the number of new homes being built to 300,000 a year to tackle the housing crisis.

This was one of the key pledges it made on housing in its election manifesto, which has also promised to build ten new garden cities across England, which it said will consist of "tens of thousands of high-quality new zero carbon homes, with gardens and shared green space, jobs, schools and public transport".

Sustainability is a key aspect of the party's proposals, which it says is important to prevent "excessive pressure" being placed on existing infrastructure.

Achieving such a rise in the number of homes being built - a target the party itself describes as "ambitious", may not be easy, but the Liberal Democrats have proposed a range of measures to speed things along. These include a "government-backed British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank", as well as action to prevent land-banking and place a stricter obligation on councils to make use of spare public sector land.

The number of council homes will also rise as the cap on local authority borrowing to build such properties will be lifted, while housing associations will also be able to borrow more.

Such measures would substantially boost the level of work and employment in the construction sector. However, the chances of this programme being put into action is extremely small, as the party crashed to just eight seats at the last election. If it were to hold the balance of power as it did in 2010 and enter a coalition government, however, it is possible some of these ideas could end up in a programme for government.

At present, however, by far the most likely outcome is an enlarged majority for the Conservatives, with many predicting a landslide. While the Tories have said they will make it easier for local authorities to buy land for council house building, their full range of housing policy plans will not emerge until their manifesto is published.