Scottish Liberal Democrats pledge to create housing and infrastructure development bank
A housing and infrastructure development bank will be created to stimulate major capital investment across the UK under new plans by the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
Publishing its manifesto for next week’s general election the Lib Dems said that the bank will use £5 billion of public money to entice much-needed private investment in the housing and infrastructure sectors.
The party also revealed plans to boost the economy through significant infrastructure investment at a UK level, which would increase capital spending for the Scottish Parliament through Barnett consequentials.
Similarly to other parties, the Lib Dems said they would reverse cuts to housing benefit for 18-21-year-olds and increase the rates of Job Seeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit for those aged 18-24 at the same rate as minimum wages. They would also scrap the ‘bedroom tax’ across the UK, while seeking to achieve the aim of making best use of the housing supply through incentivising local authorities to help tenants ‘downsize’, and withdraw eligibility for the Winter Fuel Payment from pensioners who pay tax at the higher rate (40%).
On immigration, the manifesto pledges to introduce a centrally-funded Migrant Impact Fund to help local communities to adjust to new migration and meet unexpected pressures on public services and housing.
The party also plans to improve the quality of housing for the armed forces by bringing the MoD into line with other landlords, giving tenants the same legal rights to repair and maintenance as private tenants.
Finally, to help combat fuel poverty the Liberal Democrats will:
- Pass a new Green Buildings Act to set new energy efficiency targets and cut the costs of energy efficiency products by building up the market.
- Restore the Zero Carbon Standard for new homes which was set by Liberal Democrats in government and since abandoned by the Conservatives, increasing the standard steadily and extending it to non-domestic buildings by 2022.
- Continue to back new entrants, and community and municipal providers, to the energy market, aiming for at least 30% of the household market to be supplied by competitors to the ‘Big 6’ by 2022.
As he unveiled the manifesto, party leader Willie Rennie said: “This is the chance to change the direction of the country and to build a brighter future.
“We can turn away from another divisive independence referendum and a damaging hard Brexit. Instead with a modest penny on tax we can invest in our people.
“This will get Scottish education back up to the best in the world again so that people have the skills to drive our economy. It will get people the mental health treatment they need so they can contribute too.”