Bradford MP David Ward clashes with Nick Clegg over housing policy (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford MP David Ward clashes with Nick Clegg over housing policy
6:06pm Monday 16th September 2013 in News
Bradford MP David Ward clashed with Nick Clegg over Bradford’s housing crisis today - when he called for local councils to build 300,000 new homes.
The Liberal Democrat MP backed a rebel amendment at the Glasgow conference to rip up strict borrowing town hall limits and trigger a housebuilding boom.
Latest figures show there are 15,600 families in Bradford on the housing waiting list, although that total has fallen in recent years.
Meanwhile, the Government’s NewBuy scheme – offering subsidised deposits, on new-build properties – has flopped, with just 16 mortgages signed in Bradford.
In Glasgow, left-wing Lib Dems attempted to force Mr Clegg to push for councils to build 300,000 new homes every year, to tackle the housing crisis.
Backing the amendment, Mr Ward, the Bradford East MP, said: “I definitely agree with this – we need more homes and there should be more freedoms to borrow.
"Bradford has one of the fastest-growing populations in the country. There is huge pressure on the local authority to meet the growing demand for housing.”
The 300,000 target would be achieved by removing all borrowing limits for all town halls that could demonstrate a “sustainable business model”.
At present, barely 100,000 homes a year are being completed, a quarter of the total built in the 1960s – and even lower than during Labour’s years in office.
But, after a personal intervention from Mr Clegg, the amendment was defeated.
Mr Clegg insisted his plan – allowing councils to pool borrowing limits – would achieve faster results than a “complete revolution”, which would see overall borrowing soar.
He urged Lib Dem activists: “I hear, I understand and I genuinely share your frustration and anger. But our motion is about what we can do now – not in ten or 15 years. If we get that done, we will build more affordable homes now.”
Meanwhile, Business Secretary Vince Cable launched a fierce attack on the Conservatives, describing their politics as “nasty”, “ugly” and “deeply opportunistic”.
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