Bring empty homes back into use

The Liberal Democrats today set out plans to bring a quarter of a million empty homes back into use, making homes available for people who need them and creating 65,000 jobs. There are over 760,000 empty properties across England which are no longer used as homes but can be brought back into use with some investment. People who own these homes will get a grant or a cheap loan to renovate them so they can be used: grants if the home is for social housing, loans for private use.

The plans form part of the economic stimulus package outlined as a core principle of the Liberal Democrat election manifesto. In the first year of the new Parliament, the party would redirect over £3.6bn of spending to create jobs and build up Britain’s infrastructure. In the following years this money will be redirected to other Lib Dem spending priorities and reducing the structural deficit.

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg today launched the plans with Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Vince Cable and Liberal Democrat Shadow Housing Minister, Sarah Teather. Visiting the College of North West London, they met students on construction and engineering courses who would benefit from these new plans.

Commenting, Nick Clegg said: “Allowing thousands of houses to sit empty when millions of families have been waiting years for a home is nothing short of a scandal. These plans are a clear example of where Liberal Democrat priorities lie: creating jobs and providing more family homes.

“The cost of bringing these homes back into use is just a fraction of the cost of building new ones, yet the Government is sitting idly by while they fall into disrepair.

“This is one element of our economic stimulus package that will generate jobs and help Britain on its way to building a fair, sustainable economy.”

End Labour’s “Insane” Funding Formula Chaos says Lib Dems

Local Lib Dems have called on the Home Secretary to end the unfair funding formula which will mean budget cuts for Greater Manchester Police, despite figures released which show that Greater Manchester has one of the highest crime levels in the Country.

Manchester’s Liberal Democrat Crime and Disorder Spokesperson Councillor Jackie Pearcey said “The figures show that people living in Greater Manchester are more likely to be hit by burglary than anywhere else in the Country and be the victims of crime. Yet because of the Government’s insane spending formula, Greater Manchester Police are facing a budget deficit of over £6 million and are having to look at cutting police numbers rather than increasing them to the level at which they can properly tackle crime.

Cllr Pearcey added, “The blame lies in the funding formula, which has set a ceiling for what Greater Manchester Police are given by the Home Office which has nothing to do with local need. The Home Office should give the police enough resources to do their jobs.”