Motion A

Conferencenotes:

  1. The importance of adequate housing for health and wellbeing

  2. High house prices and high rents have become serious problem for many people

  3. The long-standing Liberal Democrat and Young Liberal commitment to radically increasing house building in order to tackle this problem

  4. That living near green spaces is beneficial to residents’ health and happiness, and that the positive effects of natural areas drop off sharply for people who live further away from them

  5. That policies of urban containment, including green belts, constrain development and therefore put upward pressure on house prices

  6. Existing government schemes such as Help to Buy that focus on helping individuals to meet high prices, rather than lowering them

  7. Proposals, including from minister Sajid Javid, to place greater emphasis on price-to-income ratios instead of population forecasts when determining the need for new housing

  8. The risk that Brexit will affect the availability and price of raw materials and labour for the construction industry

Conference believes:

  1. That rising house prices have created social crisis that demands urgent action

  2. That substantial expansion in the supply of housing is required

  3. That although the social sector has an important role to play, the private sector will need to provide the majority of new houses

  4. That the increase in supply should be concentrated in the areas of greatest unmet demand, as indicated by the highest house prices

  5. That the protection of green spaces within urban areas should be higher priority than the protection of green belt land

  6. That schemes such as Help to Buy do not address the fundamental market dynamics that lead to high prices and rents, although they may help individuals in the short term

  7. That local authorities have moral duty to ensure that the planning system does not entrench the housing crisis

  8. That young people should not be forced to leave their communities and support networks in order to find affordable housing

  9. That even those voters previously most reluctant to accept house building will increasingly see the consequences of the housing crisis for young people in their communities

  10. That well-intentioned local campaigns have led to the Liberal Democrats becoming associated in many people’s eyes with local opposition to house building and that this will increasingly harm the party’s ability to engage the younger voters who should be its natural voter base

Conference resolves

  1. To call for an end to policies of urban containment, including green belt designation

  2. To continue to support the protection of urban green spaces where this is of value to the community

  3. To call upon local Liberal Democrat campaigners and councillors across the country to encourage sustainable house building in their areas and to seek to resolve concerns where possible rather than oppose proposals outright

  4. To call upon local Liberal Democrat campaigners in areas with the highest price-to income ratios to avoid campaigning against developments except in exceptional circumstances, to reflect the severity of the crisis locally 

  5. To call for price-to-income ratios to be prioritised over population forecasts in the planning system

  6. To support action to increase the supply of social housing

  7. To call upon the government to ensure that the outcome of Brexit negotiations does not adversely affect the construction industry’s supply chains or workforce. 


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