Ian Shires

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Willenhall North Ward, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Walsall MBC Learn more

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Opinion: Tackling Britain’s housing crisis

by Ian Shires on February 6, 2014

Published on Liberal Democrat Voice By  | Wed 5th February 2014 – 5:00 pm
 Terraced housing
Liberal Democrats have long recognised the housing crisis that has grown steadily worse since the 1979 Conservative Government stopped councils building new homes.  In Government, Liberal Democrats have made a good start at increasing the number of affordable homes built for rent, with 335,000 homes to be completed between 2011 and 2018, and supported initiatives to help deliver market housing.

We’ve also agreed an ambitious target of 300,000 new homes each year for overall housing supply as party policy.  But even with some councils starting to build again, there is a long way to go before anywhere near enough homes are built each year in Britain to meet need.

The Local Authority Housing Review, set in train by the Autumn Statement, will look at how councils can do more to increase supply, how self-financing for councils has worked in practice, and will examine how councils could access finance in innovative ways to get more homes built.  I am excited to have been asked by Danny Alexander and Eric Pickles to co-lead this independent Review with Natalie Elphicke, founder of Million Homes, Million Lives.

Later this spring the Review will launch a call for evidence. This is the opportunity for everyone who is passionate about tackling our housing crisis to put forward practical ideas and solutions.  For Liberal Democrats this is a chance to make the case for change alongside our own manifesto for 2015.

* Cllr Keith House has been Leader of Eastleigh Borough Council since 1994.

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