I am leading local Liberal Democrat efforts to help young people with housing in Cheltenham.
My council motion targeting help at younger people who are struggling to buy and rent in the town was passed unanimously by the borough council.
The move will ensure the authority finds ways to deliver long-term secure rental and innovative shared ownership models.
The policies will help a group of people who do not qualify for social housing and cannot find secure rental accommodation after growing up here, as well as those looking to put down roots in the town.
In a recent statement, I said: “Providing housing for younger people who want to move here and stay here is a key challenge for the town and it’s one that we know makes life harder for businesses too because they need to be able to recruit and retain staff.
“People aged under 35 need us to take an assertive approach to help them out of the housing crisis – secure rent and the chance to get the first rung on the property ladder is a huge part of that.
“It’s time we stepped up to the mark and delivered a solution that will ensure our town remains a vibrant and exciting place to live, and that ensures we continue to prosper.
“These people are in a specific group with a specific housing need and we should deal with it, just as we seek to provide social housing for people on lower incomes and retirement homes for older people.”
Young people are hit with a double whammy in the property market. Houses to rent are usually on short-term six month or one-year contracts, while saving for a mortgage deposit is beyond the reach of many.
This means that lots of younger people pay huge fees to lettings agents, are forced to move more often and cannot afford a deposit.
The current average housing cost in Cheltenham is more than eight times the average salary in the town, up from just three or four times the average salary in the late 1990s.
The Liberal Democrat council will investigate how to solve the problem with innovative policies as part of its local plan and supplementary planning documents, starting with the meetings I called for beginning at the end of November.