1. Press Release Library Standards and the decline in book borrowing Boris Johnson MP said: "Too many libraries are getting rid of their stocks - particularly classic works - because they think there is no market for them anymore. "There is no substitute for picking up a book and reading it from cover to cover. Libraries have always provided opportunities for millions of people who cannot afford expensive books and it is very sad to see the decline of a vital national service. "We must hope that this change in standards does nothing to speed the tragic decline in book lending which has fallen by an average of around 20% in Britain in the last five years." 2. Press Release Boris Johnson MP; Give Oxfordshire's tenants a foot up the housing ladder Action on housing pledged by Conservatives Boris Johnson MP today backed new plans to extend home ownership in Oxfordshire. New Conservative policies would mean extra support for 'shared ownership' schemes, allow social tenants to buy a stake in their home, and make it easier for housing associations to build more affordable housing. This will help those who currently cannot afford to get on the housing ladder. Boris Johnson explained, "Particularly in Oxfordshire it is now increasingly difficult for residents on modest incomes to buy their own home. Labour once promised they had 'no plans to raise tax at all'; but their property taxes - such as council tax and stamp duty - have hit first time buyers. The average first time buyer in Oxfordshire now pays an extra £1546 in stamp duty compared with 1997. "Social tenants have also lost out, with Right to Buy discounts being cut back. Where council housing has been transferred to housing associations, tenants lose the same Right to Buy. We desperately need to address this lack of affordable housing in Oxfordshire yet it seems the Government's only policy has been to be to concrete over our green fields. Were planning decisions to be further removed from local people under Government plans for a South East Regional Assembly, I can only see this situation worsening". Under the Conservative plans for Action on Housing: - Conservatives will promote and extend support for shared ownership schemes. Shared equity helps people buy their home of choice without having to fund 100 per cent of the value. - We will extend the Right to Buy to over a million housing association tenants, and reinvest the receipts from sales in new social housing (while recognising the need for some exemptions in small rural areas). - We will help social housing tenants purchase a home, not just their present property, via transferable discounts and also allowing them to build up a stake in their equity of their home. - We will reduce Labour's disproportionate and excessive regulation and inspection of housing associations, and make it easier for them to work with private sector developers to build more affordable housing to buy and rent. Boris Johnson MP concluded: "Conservatives want the dream of home ownership to come true for more and more people, so that they can benefit from the security and independence which home ownership conveys."