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Farron: 'We will build 300,000 new homes a year'

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Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has reiterated his party’s commitment to building 300,000 homes a year during his speech to the Liberal Democrat annual conference

Speaking to delegates in Bournemouth, Farron slammed high house prices and the effect of the Right to Buy scheme.

He called for housing associations and councils to be ‘let off the leash’ to build tens of thousands of extra new homes a year.

Farron said: ‘We have had enough empty rhetoric on housing. We need action now. Liberal Democrats have a target of building 300,000 homes a year - a massive challenge, but we must be prepared to meet it.

‘And this means bold choices.’

He said that the party would lift borrowing caps for local authorities to allow them to build more homes, and repeated the manifesto pledge to build 10 new garden cities.

Farron also promised to fight proposals by the government to sell-off housing association and council homes under an extended Right to Buy programme.

‘Communities up and down this country have spent 25 years building housing association homes, picking up the pieces of Mrs Thatcher’s destruction of council housing, and we will not allow David Cameron to destroy that work too,’ he said.

In the speech, Farron also slammed the Conservative government for dismantling green policies introduced during the coalition.

He said: ‘When Al Gore, John Gummer and the boss of the CBI all warn you you’re doing the wrong thing – which is what happened [earlier this week] – that chance are, you’re on the wrong track.

‘This government needs to realise it’s making the wrong move at the wrong time for the wrong reasons.’

Julia Evans, chief executive of construction consultancy and research firm BSRIA, said: ‘As Tim Farron works to rebuild his party, it is good to see that he is also looking at fixing the fundamentals for the construction industry.

She added: ‘Since the general election, BSRIA is getting the impression that energy and carbon reduction issues are being viewed as a burden to government – which is inhibiting not only the industry but the economy at large – especially those centring on the ending of and reliance on subsidies for energy saving schemes. We are encouraged that the Liberal Democrats will fight the government every inch of the way.’

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