News from the Lib Dem Conference

Three major property related policies emerged from the rhetoric of the Lib Dem Conference:

1. Mansion Tax

See our comments under the Conservative Conference…..

2. 300,000 Homes

The Lib Dems have officially called for a 300,000 homes a year target, after delegates approved the ‘Decent Homes For All’ paper with only a handful of votes against.

Three amendments to the paper were also approved; calling for local authorities to be given the power to tax vacant developable land, for the party to reject moves to sell off high-value social housing and noting concerns about government plans to allow section 106 requirements to be reduced (concerns shared by the Labour opposition).

2. Pension Pots for Guaranteeing Mortgages

Nick Clegg suggested that parents and grandparents should be able to use their pensions to help their children get on the housing ladder via the ‘pension for property’ plan.

This aims to let those approaching retirement borrow against the lump sum payment in their pension to underwrite the mortgages of young people who cannot afford to buy a home.

Up to a quarter of a pension pot can be paid out in a lump sum when someone retires, giving a substantial sum to secure an important loan. Many believe that a lack of credit has greatly restricted demand in the economy and the Lib Dems hope that this scheme will release some of it to the benefit of the wider economy.

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