The Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference has approved the party’s plans to help families who are unable to pay their mortgages and facing the threat of homelessness due to the downturn in the housing market.
The proposals, which aim to reduce repossessions and increase the stock of social housing, include:
- Introducing regulated Mortgage Rescue Schemes to allow families struggling with repayments to sell all or part of the equity in their house and rent it back from a housing association or private firm to help keep them in their home
- Allowing councils and housing associations to borrow money to buy up land and vacant new homes for use as social housing
- Giving courts guidelines to only allow homes to be repossessed as a last resort, making the mortgage lenders’ voluntary code binding on all lenders
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor, Vince Cable said: “After years of this Government’s apathy, which allowed the housing market to boom hopelessly out of control, millions are now feeling the painful consequences of a market in freefall.
“With rising mortgage repayments and soaring food and fuel bills, many families are finding it impossible to make ends meet.
“Ministers should not try to turn back the tide of a housing market which needs to fall to a more affordable level. Instead they should concern themselves with the many thousands in danger of being cast out on the street.
“Rapid action must be taken to ensure that banks only ever repossess as a last resort.
“Now is also the time to allow councils and housing associations to borrow against their assets and build up the social housing stock for the many millions on waiting lists.”