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Dover and Deal Liberal Democrat candidate Simon Dodds backs 200% increase on council tax for empty homes

By Sam Lennon

The Liberal Democrats would raise council tax charges on empty homes by up to 200% to tackle the housing shortage.

That’s a general election pledge by the party, which says there are now 2,076 families in Dover on a waiting list for council places, yet 624 homes have been empty over six months.

The Lib Dems would also have more affordable homes built if elected on Thursday, June 8.

Simon Dodd, Liberal Democrat candidate for the 2017 general election in Dover

Simon Dodd, Parliamentary candidate for the Dover and Deal area, said; “Hundreds of families are struggling to find a decent and affordable place to call home.

“Many young people in particular are finding it virtually impossible to get on the housing ladder.

“At the same time, homes are sitting empty and plots of land bought by developers are not being used.

“The market is broken. That is why we are setting out radical plans to fix the housing crisis.”

Library picture - This house stood empty for 23 years

The Liberal Democrats would allow local authorities to hike up council tax on empty homes by up to 200%, including second homes and buy to leave empty investments from overseas.

Councils could also choose to impose penalties on developers who leave plots of land empty for more than three years, to tackle so-called land-banking.

The party would also introduce a legal requirement for smaller housing developments to include affordable homes,.

And it wants to make it easier for councils and housing associations to borrow money and set up a new government-backed Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank.

MP Charlie Elphicke says it is unfair for anyone to be in his position

Charlie Elphicke, Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Dover and Deal, said: “Young people in Dover and Deal work hard and should be able to buy their own home.

"That’s why it’s so encouraging to see the number of new builds continue to grow.

“We’ve been working hard to attract investment to the area – and in Dover and Deal the number of new builds last year was double the UK average.

“With housing developments like at Aylesham and Connaught Barracks, the Conservatives are getting the new homes we need built."

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