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Farron: Affordable Housing Must Be Protected

January 6, 2016 3:59 PM

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron yesterday proposed an amendment to the Housing Bill designed to ensure that new developments include a range of properly affordable housing to both rent and buy, and to stop these houses becoming second homes. Tim's amendment was supported by almost a third of MPs, but was defeated due to Conservative opposition.

In the debate on the Housing Bill in the House of Commons yesterday, Tim spoke about the housing crisis faced by residents in South Lakeland. Tim tabled an amendment which was designed to "ensure that new homes built under the starter homes initiative are genuinely affordable and include social rented homes". Tim insisted that there must be "some form of restriction that allows [affordable homes] to be affordable to people on average incomes"

Tim also stressed the need for "planning controls for newly built properties to prevent them from slipping into the second-home market, undermining the sustainability of our communities and pushing up house prices for local people."

Tim's amendment garnered significant support, with 190 MPs voting in favour of it. However, it was ultimately defeated due to Conservative opposition.

Tim also criticised the government's 'Right to Buy' plans for social housing, arguing that "the forced selling off of high-value council homes will reduce the supply of affordable homes in the very places where they are needed most: where high rental prices push out those who work locally on low incomes, often causing them to travel long distances with unaffordably high travel costs to reach work or forcing them to give up work altogether."

Tim said: "The country faces a severe housing crisis, in which ordinary people cannot afford to rent, let alone buy, their own home. Unfortunately, the government's proposals simply will not address the problems that are faced, particularly here in South Lakeland.

"We need homes that are genuinely affordable, and that includes properties not just to buy but also to rent. The government must also act to ensure that these properties do not simply end up becoming second homes, and exacerbating the housing problems which many communities in South Lakeland already face."