The Liberal Democrats have announced plans to address the housing shortage in Reading and build more affordable homes.

There are currently 5,600 families in Reading Borough on a waiting list for council homes. In addition, official figures show 515 homes in the area have been empty for over six months.

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 hike up 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.

Councillor Meri O’Connell, Parliamentary candidate for Reading West commented, “Hundreds of families in Reading are struggling to find a decent and affordable place to call home. Many young people in particular are finding it virtually impossible to get on the housing ladder. At the same time, homes are sitting empty and plots of land bought by developers are not being used.”

Dr Jenny Woods, Parliamentary candidate for Reading East added, “The market is broken and has failed to deliver. That is why we are setting out radical plans to fix the housing crisis. A Conservative landslide would allow the government to take people for granted, meaning more years of soaring rents and failure to build enough affordable housing.”

A better future is available. Have hope, vote Liberal Democrat. We can change Britain’s future and build the affordable homes Reading needs.