- More than 12,000 people on waiting lists for homes in Manchester.
- Liberal Democrats announce plans to tackle broken housing market.
- Leech: "It's time to solve this crisis once and for all. No more luxury apartments and no more selling properties for profit.
John Leech and the Liberal Democrats have announced plans to address the desperate housing shortage in Manchester and build more genuinely affordable homes.
There are currently nearly 12,000 people in Manchester on a waiting list for council homes, with official figures showing that 1,365 homes in Manchester have been empty for over six months.
Earlier this year, the former Withington MP, John Leech accused the Labour-run Manchester Council of a 'Labour-style social cleansing' as they approved the construction of more than 2,500 homes, not a single one of which they could guarantee would be affordable. He also criticised decisions in 2013 when plots for 86 homes in Chorlton were sold off by the council to private companies for profit, rather than saved for affordable housing.
John Leech and the Liberal Democrats have now pledged to introduce a legal requirement for smaller housing developments to include affordable homes. It will also make it easier for local authorities and housing associations to borrow money and set up a new government-backed Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank.
Former Liberal Democrat MP and Manchester Withington candidate, John Leech, said: "This city is in desperate need of good quality, genuinely affordable family homes and it needs to be taken seriously.
"A Conservative government will take people in Manchester for granted, just as our Labour council has done for years.
"Labour's approval to build 2,500 new houses - not a single one of which is affordable - is an absolute insult to the 12,000 people currently on waiting lists across the city."
The party would allow local authorities to hike up council tax on empty homes by up to 200%, including second homes. Local authorities could also choose to impose penalties on developers who leave plots of land empty for over three years, to tackle so-called land-banking.
John Leech, who is contesting his formerly held Manchester Withington seat, added: "Young people in particular are finding it virtually impossible to get on the housing ladder in Manchester. At the same time, houses are sitting empty, luxury houses and apartments are being built and plots of land bought by developers are sitting unused.
“The market is broken and has failed to deliver which is why we are setting out radical plans to fix the housing crisis in Manchester.
"We have a credible and robust plan to deliver genuinely affordable homes in Manchester, once and for all. No more luxury apartments and no more selling properties for profit.
"If elected I will fight to stop years of soaring rents and failure to build enough affordable homes, and only a vote for the Liberal Democrats can change Britain's future."