Liberal Democrat election manifesto: Use your rent payments to buy your home

Manifesto makes a clear pitch to younger voters

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Indy Politics

Using rent payments to buy your own home and a new discount bus pass for 16 to 21-year-olds are the flagship policies in what will be a clear pitch to younger voters when the Liberal Democrats launch their general election manifesto tomorrow.

The new rent-to-own scheme would allow rent payments to accumulate like a mortgage, with tenants owning their own home after 30 years.

The party will also pledge to restore housing benefit to young people and lower the voting age to 16 if they gain power. Bus passes for 16 to 21-year-olds would be discounted by two-thirds.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said in advance of the launch: “You don't have to accept Theresa May and Nigel Farage’s extreme version of Brexit that will wreck the future for you, your family, your schools and hospitals.

“In the biggest fight for the future of our country in a generation, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour has let you down by voting with Theresa May on Brexit, not against her."

The rent-to-own scheme would be funded through a Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank to help firms and housing associations fund the building of rent-to-own homes.

The initiative aims to allow renters to buy a share in the home they are living in, in what Mr Farron has called a "staircase" to buying a home.

"This is about allowing people to get their foot on the ladder, to begin to pay rent and to lead that to a staircase up to being able to own a property, part own it, and give people that chance to become a home owner should they wish," he told Sky News.

“It seems to me that we have got to give young people especially the hope that home owning, if it is something that they wanted, they can have it.”

Among other promises are a £7bn boost in education spending and extend free school meals to all primary school pupils.

Mr Farron added: “The Liberal Democrats want you to have a choice over your future. You should have your say on the Brexit deal in a referendum.

“And if you don't like the deal you should be able to reject it and choose to remain in Europe.

“We want to give all our children a brighter future in a fairer Britain where people are decent to each other, with good schools and hospitals, a clean environment and an innovative economy.

“Not Theresa May's cold, mean-spirited Britain.”