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Don Foster MP - Bath's #1 Supporter

MP supports Rent to Own scheme

Bath MP, Don Foster has welcomed the launch of ‘Rent to Own’ – an innovative Liberal Democrat scheme to help young people onto the housing ladder by enabling them to buy their own home without a deposit.

First-time buyers will steadily build up a share in their home through monthly payments equivalent to rent until they own the property outright after 30 years - just like a normal mortgage. Under Lib Dem plans, the Government would partner with housing associations and other providers to deliver ‘Rent to Own’ houses where monthly payments are no higher than market rent.

Commenting, Don said: “This scheme marks a fundamental shift in housing policy and will give young people caught in ‘generation rent’ a chance at home ownership. Young people deserve better. Rent to Own will mean, regardless of their background and family circumstance, they will be able to make this a dream a reality.”

In the last decade, house ownership has plummeted for the under 35s, with just 36% of 25-34-year-olds owning their own home, down from 59%. Yet, surveys show 82% of people want to own their own home.

Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Bath, Steve Bradley said: “Prices are now so high many working young people in Bath are unable to save enough for a deposit despite earning enough to meet future mortgage repayments. ‘Rent to Own’ is about building a stronger economy and fairer society, and making sure Generation Rent has the same opportunity to get on in life as their parents and grandparents before them.”

The scheme also builds on ground-breaking work by social enterprise Gentoo Group, who have rolled out a similar scheme – called Genie - in the North East and plan to expand into London later this year.

Peter Walls, Chief Executive of Gentoo Group, said: “I am delighted the Liberal Democrats have recognised our innovation and are aiming to make this scheme scalable across the UK. A now proven concept, Genie has already unlocked homeownership for many that were excluded.”

You can find out even more information here.

Don supports new measures to champion equal pay

Don Foster, MP for Bath, has welcomed news of a government amendment that guarantees all large businesses will have to publish the difference between average pay for their male and female employees.

The amendment to the Small Business Bill, due to be debated in the House of Lords on Wednesday 12 March will fast-track Liberal Democrat manifesto plans for gender pay transparency within the next 12 months.

On the news, Don commented: “By securing a government amendment, we have successfully ensured that ministers on the government payroll will vote in favour of gender pay transparency. These measures will shine a light on a company’s policy so that women can rightly challenge their employer where they are not being properly valued and rewarded.”

Both Lib Dem leader & Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg and Lib Dem Minister for Women and Equalities, Jo Swinson have argued within government for mandatory pay transparency since the coalition was formed. However, in the wake of Conservative opposition, an initial voluntary approach was agreed upon. ​This was on the condition that the decision would remain under review so that, if a voluntary approach did not lead to more companies publishing the difference in pay between men and women, mandatory reporting would be introduced for large companies (more than 250 employees).

It has now emerged that just five companies have chosen to publish their gender pay gap voluntarily, invoking the implementation of tougher measures.

This a significant win for Lib Dems, in the face of consistent efforts by the Conservatives to block the proposals over the life of the coalition.

Commenting, Nick Clegg said: “Whilst the Liberal Democrats have made real progress in areas like shared parental leave and extending the right to request flexible working, the labour market is still stacked against women. It simply cannot be acceptable that, in the twenty first century, women on average still receive a smaller pay packet than men.​ We can’t wait and we can’t dither. We need to sort this out now.”

Don backs plans to insulate 10 million homes over next decade in ‘Green Homes Revolution’

Bath MP, Don Foster has welcomed Liberal Democrat plans to introduce a new Green Homes Bill in the next Parliament to improve energy efficiency and promote renewable heat across the UK.

The Green Homes Bill would build on the success of the policies for warmer homes the Lib Dems have delivered in Government.

In just two years more than one million homes have been made more energy efficiency thanks to the Energy Companies Obligation and the Green Deal, in addition to regulations to ban landlords from renting out energy inefficient homes from April 2018 and an ambitious new Fuel Poverty Strategy.

Commenting, Don said: “We need to ensure more people in Bath benefit from permanently warmer homes and cheaper energy bills. Through ambitious targets and generous incentives for people who carry out work we can make homes warmer, cheaper and greener.”

Don, who was Minister for Communities and Local Government in 2013 added: “I was responsible for the change in Building Regulations to improve home insulation for new build houses. This was a solid start but I want us to go further. A Green Homes revolution would deliver 10 million energy efficient homes by 2025.”

The new Bill would ensure these achievements are built on, incentivising people to insulate their homes by offering at least £100 each year off your Council Tax for 10 years, when you significantly upgrade the energy efficiency of your home. The Bill will also reform the Green Deal ‘pay as you save’ scheme into a new ‘Green Homes Loan Scheme’ which would extend the current scheme to include renewable heat and electricity

Green campaigner and Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Bath, Steve Bradley said: “Lib Dems in Government have a proud record of improving the nation’s leaky housing. Energy efficiency is the most important fuel we didn’t know we had and insulating millions of homes will significantly improve the cost of living and quality of life of people here in Bath and across the UK.”

You can find out more information here.