Joyce's Blog

Hope is in the Air

A sense of hope was thick in the air last night.

I was at the launch of the Liberal Democrats Manifesto in east London and there was a lot of excitement, optimism and hope. I’m proud to be the candidate of a party with such a strong positive message. Amid all of the current troubles in the world, the UK and Hammersmith, we are telling people that it’s not too late to make a difference.

One major focus of the Manifesto is housing, which is a big issue here in Hammersmith.  On the doorstep, many people have told me their concern and even anger about the lack of affordable housing.  It’s no surprise when the price of an average house  in Hammersmith has rocketed 50 percent over the past five years to over £1m!

The Liberal Democrats have a comprehensive policy to deal with the crisis:

  • 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
  • Lift the borrowing cap on Local Authorities to build more social homes for rent

The housing crisis has been left to the vagaries of the market for too long. Now is the time to take action!