Demanding more affordable housing - a message from Sir Vince Cable

January 7, 2019 7:15 AM

The local Lib Dems recently challenged Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to do more to ensure that enough homes are built for families on low and middle incomes in our town. As the Council begins examining this important issue, Sir Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, sets out his take on solutions to the housing crisis - which include local authorities taking a greater role in the large scale building of social housing.

Sir Vince says: "The housing crisis is essentially about affordability: prices that rule out owner-occupation for most young families in many parts of the country; rents that are bringing much stress to low and middle income tenants.

"Of course, we need many more houses built. But this is a longterm solution: even if 300,000 houses a year were built - way above present levels - it would bring down prices by an estimated 5%. Not surprising as the additional houses represent only 1% of homes. We need specific action to make new housing affordable.

"The first is a large-scale building of social housing for rent commissioned by councils or housing associations. We believe 100,000 a year is feasible.

"The second is a major programme of building of homes for purchase, or part purchase or rent-to-buy. To be affordable to first time buyers and key workers they would need to be much cheaper than the average price of new homes, now. That means cutting the link between escalating land and house prices.

"There are various ways of doing this: using public land without the current legal requirement to maximise value; the introduction of land value taxation which would incentivise the best use of land; and modifications to land compensation legislation so that compulsory purchase can be used without the payment of 'hope value' for change of use."