Cities like Manchester, which has become infamous for its "unforgivable" lack of affordable housing, are the target of a new housing policy approved at the Liberal Democrats Autumn conference in Brighton today.
Manchester City Council was slammed for choosing not to class people as vulnerable in a "deliberate and unforgivable" attempt to avoid providing accommodation.
The policy comes amidst the recent storm surrounding Manchester's housing crisis in which the Labour council has not approved a single affordable home in the city for nearly a decade.
The motion, which passed overwhelmingly, included a commitment to build at least 50,000 new social homes for rent every year, as part of the long-standing commitment of the Liberal Democrats to build 300,000 homes a year over the next decade.
It also called for better environmental standards for housing, to reduce both fuel poverty and greenhouse gas emissions, deliver more security for tenants in the private rented sector through increasing landlords’ notice period from 2 months to 6 months, an expansion of the ‘rent to buy’ scheme and the creation of a British Housing Company which would acquire unused land for building through compulsory acquisition.
In a powerful speech, Manchester MP turned Opposition Leader John Leech slammed Manchester Council for deliberately refusing vulnerable people housing and not holding developers to their 20% quota affordable housing commitment.
“There is no bigger scandal today than to see people sleeping on our streets and that is a result of terrible policies enacted by the Tories and endorsed by Labour.
"I have seen pensioners and people with addictions and mental health problems turned away because Manchester Council deliberately chooses not to class them as vulnerable in an unforgivable attempt to avoid providing accommodation.
"We must end this scandal today - it is time for us to redefine the definition of vulnerable to ensure there is no gap for heartless councils like Manchester."