According to the Liberal Democrats Party website the Liberal Democrats Party will try to achieve the following if they gain power at the 2010 general election:
Post offices, parks and neighbourhood shops are disappearing. Families get broken up as people move around more. And many people from around the world are making their home in Britain. We need stronger communities to bring people together again. We will help people come together to run services, fight crime and protect post offices, shops and homes.
Local decisions on local homes, schools, and green space – We will scrap the ‘Whitehall knows best’ rules and targets that mess up and delay decisions about key local issues. Local people will be set free to make the key decisions about their area and about improving local services, with real powers and responsibilities devolved to local communities and their councils.
Fair taxes raised and spent locally – Council Tax bears no relation to people’s ability to pay and penalises pensioners and people on low incomes, who pay a far higher proportion of their income in tax than the very rich. We would scrap Council Tax and replace it with Local Income Tax, which is fair and affordable. We will return Business Rates to local control so local people decide how their locally raised taxes are spent.
Provide affordable homes – We will tackle the housing crisis by providing affordable housing which remains affordable in the long term as well as increasing the stock of social housing to rent. We will release public sector land to Community Land Trusts, taking out the cost of buying land to develop, so they can build thousands of affordable homes for their local communities. We will reform VAT to encourage developers to repair and re-use empty buildings and brownfield land. In areas where second homes are overwhelming the local housing market, we will require people to get planning permission before turning another full-time home into a holiday home.
Strong communities needn’t cost the earth – We will aim to reduce carbon emissions from the UK’s housing by more than 80% by 2050, setting new standards for new housing and refurbishing existing housing. This will not only cut greenhouse gas emissions but also household bills. We will also support councils in delivering sustainable development increasing public spaces and parks, and using their road system to support green modes of transport.
I would be interested to hear both positive and negative views on Liberal Democrats Local Communities policies in the comments below?