The building of new housing in St Edmundsbury continues to decline despite an upward trend in the region as a whole. New initiatives from the Lib Dem/Conservative Coalition government should help the local picture improve.
In July, the government announced a £1.8 billion Affordable Homes Programme, putting the Government on track to deliver up to 170,000 new homes by 2015.
Now, the new Housing Strategy has been announced. Andrew Stunell, Lib Dem Communities Minister said “It’s been a long-established view that we have a housing crisis in the UK. So it couldn’t be more important to give the housebuilding industry a shot in the arm, and do more to ensure that we’re using our existing stock more effectively.”
These are the main points:
- a New Build Indemnity Scheme to help buyers currently frozen out of the housing market because of the need for large deposits
- a new £400m fund to help unlock progress on stalled sites which have planning permission and are ready to go
- freeing up public sector land for new homes through Build Now, Pay Later deals
- a £500m Growing Places Fund to help support infrastructure that unblocks housing and economic growth.
- a £100m Empty Homes Fund, which will give councils and communities access to funds to bring empty homes back into use as affordable housing.
The rate of building of new homes fell under the last Labour government. The number of new homes started in the East of England region fell from over 24,000 in 2005 to barely 11,000 in 2008. There has been a slow improvement since the LibDem/Conservative Coalition Government took charge (14,000 new homes in 2010-11).
Chris Lale said: “Liberal Democrats believe that in a fair society, everyone should have the right to a decent home (Lib Dem Manifesto p.77). These Coalition Government initiatives are capable of reducing the number of local people who do not yet have a decent home. Liberal Democrats in government are having a positive influence, and policies such as this will make a real, positive difference to people’s lives .”