Lib Dems unveil £100bn infrastructure blueprint

Katie Coyne

Party also commits to building 300,000 homes a year

The Liberal Democrats have pledged as part of their manifesto a major programme of capital investment to stimulate growth in the economy including £100bn on additional infrastructure.

Some of this money will be spend on building 300,000 homes a year for purchase and rent by 2022. The Lib Dems further pledge that half a million affordable, energy-efficient homes will be built by the end of parliament.

A commitment to HS2, Crossrail 2 and rail electrification is underlined, alongside significant investment in road and rail infrastructure. The Lib Dems also commit to a programme of installing hyperfast, fibre-optic broadband across the UK.

The Lib Dems also want to set up a new government-backed British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank to provide long term investment for developments.

The document outlines proposals for at least ten garden cities providing zero carbon homes with green spaces, jobs, schools and public transport. They want to end voluntary right to buy that sell of housing association stock.

They want to lift the borrowing cap on local authorities for council and social house building. The document also wants to see smaller housing development schemes no longer exempt from the obligation to provide affordable homes.

The manifesto said the Lib Dems would “strengthen the hand” of local government to prevent large developers reneging on their commitments. The part also would require that local plans take into account at least 15 years of future housing needs.

It would also create a community right of appeal where planning decisions gor against the approved local plan.

Other measures included allowing local authorities to: levy up to 200% council tax on second homes and ‘buy to leave empty’ investments from overseas owners; enforcing housebuilding on unwanted public sector land; penalise excessive land banking when builders have failed to build after three years.

They also backed the right for local authorities to end the right to buy.

A shake-up of tax rules is also outlined. They want to reverse the Conservatives corporation tax cut from 20% to 17% and take ‘tough action’ against corporate tax evasion by investing in HM Revenue and Customs.

The Lib Dems want to expand the activities of the state-owned British Business Bank so it can help provide equity for growing firms and provide long term capital for medium sized businesses.

The document promises a reform of the Regulatory Policy Committee to remove unnecessary regulation and support new markets and investment, particularly in low carbon and resource efficient innovations.

The Lib Dems also pledge to protect the science budget including the recent £2bn increase by continuing to raise it in line with inflation.

It aims to double innovation and research funding for British partners in EU funded projects such as Horizon 2020 that may be cancelled due to Brexit.

Measures on making the workplace fairer are put forward such as a proposal to make large businesses publish wages, reviewing employment practices to bring it in line with the ‘gig economy’ and a review into setting up a living wage.

The document also wants to extend childcare for working families, add an additional ‘use it or lose it’ month long shared parental leave, and encourage flexible working.

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