A quarter of a million unused homes could be filled and given a new purpose under plans set out by the Liberal Democrats.
Party leader Nick Clegg unveiled a strategy to provide owners of empty properties with renovation money so families can move in to them.
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Vince Cable and housing spokeswoman Sarah Teather joined Mr Clegg in announcing the plans, which state if one of England’s 760,000 empty buildings was turned into social housing the party would give grants to fund its development, or organise loans if the home is for private use.
Mr Clegg said: “Allowing thousands of houses to sit empty when millions of families have been waiting years for a home is nothing short of a scandal.
“These plans are a clear example of where Liberal Democrat priorities lie: creating jobs and providing more family homes.
“The cost of bringing these homes back into use is just a fraction of the cost of building new ones, yet the government is sitting idly by while they fall into disrepair.
“This is one element of our economic stimulus package that will generate jobs and help Britain on its way to building a fair, sustainable economy.”