The Liberal Democrats have announced plans to address the housing shortage in Camden and build more affordable homes.
There are currently nearly 3,000 families in on a waiting list for council homes across Camden, while roughly 600 homes have been empty for over six months throughout the borough.
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 increase 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. The plans also include provisions to build 500,000 new energy efficient homes across the country over the new five years.
Stephen Crosher, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Holborn and St Pancras, said:
"A housing shortage puts people at risk of insecurity, rising rents and worst of all, the pervasive issue of homelessness. Housing is a fundamental necessity to people in Camden, but cases of land-banking by developers set a dangerous precedent of gambling with the futures of those most in need of a home.
“It is now clear that the only way to deal with the scale of this challenge is through radical new thinking and a bold commitment to step in and build homes directly if developers are unable, or unwilling to do so themselves. Although I am fortunate enough to have a home for my family, my oldest daughter who is married living in Birmingham is not. I recognise my fortunate position but the same cannot be said for many residents living in Holborn and St Pancras and I am determined to stand up for all those caught in the trap of London's housing crisis".
Kirsty Allan, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, said:
“Decent, affordable housing is becoming a distant dream for far too many, nowhere more so than in London. In Camden, the cost of a home has gone from three to four times average annual earnings to 10 times, three times more than the national average.
“The huge cost of housing has created a more divided society under the current Conservative government, squeezing families, putting more strain on the most vulnerable, and forcing many in need into homelessness. Those on low wages will be forced out of London, leading to a city that is only for the wealthy. All this while homes are sitting empty and plots of land bought by developers are not being used.
“The Liberal Democrats’ radical plan to fix the housing crisis is positive vision to help people and families have access to the decent, affordable housing they deserve.”