Tim Farron says a LibDem government will build homes if the private sector doesn’t

The Liberal Democrats have announced that a government led by Tim Farron would build 300,000 homes for sale and rent by the end of the next parliament.

All the major political parties are staking claims to how many houses they will build in the next parliament, and Farron has committed a Liberal Democrat government to become a housebuilder if the private sector is unable – or unwilling – to do the job.

“If developers won’t deliver the homes Britain needs, we will,” he said. “The only way to get a grip on the housing crisis is by firm government action. The market is broken and has failed to deliver.”

Farron said a Liberal Democrat administration would also penalise developers for land-banking and allow local authorities hike up council tax on empty or un-built homes.

A new government-backed Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank would be created to provide long-term capital for major new settlements and house building projects, while the Liberal Democrats said they would build 500,000 affordable, energy-efficient homes.

It would scrap exemptions on smaller housing development schemes from their obligation to provide affordable homes, and lift the borrowing cap on local authorities to build more social homes for rent.

Last week Labour’s leaked election manifesto revealed it planned to build a million homes over a five-year term, including 100,000 new council houses.