We will build a million new homes in five years, with at least half a million council homes, through our public investment strategy. We will end insecurity for private renters by introducing rent controls, secure tenancies and a charter of private tenants’ rights, and increase access to affordable home ownership.
Such a little word, but it means so much to every one of us. A home is more than just a building though. It’s somewhere to feel and be secure, where you can manage the cost of both it and the associated bills. You want to make it your own, whether that means as little as a coat of paint, some pictures on the walls, or a complete refurbish. For far too many people these simple needs are not being met today.
Across the spectrum of housing tenure, it simply isn’t working for many people, and there are a number of reasons for this.
- Lack of house building in sufficient numbers to meet needs over many years
- Home ownership is increasingly out of reach in many areas due to the increase in house prices being far in excess of wages.
- The sale of council houses has meant laarge numbers of former council houses are now owned by private landlords, who may not invest in their property, to ensure it is in a decent condition, but will charge higher rents and require large deposits to be paid.
- The certainty that investment in property will be likely to yield a good return has led many people to buy-to -let,
- Private Tenancies typically are for 6 months to a year, resulting in tenants not being able to settle, children having to change schools frequently etc.
- Absentee and rogue landlords who refuse to maintain property, or who sublet inappropriately
- Lack of regulation of rents against short supply means increasing rents
There is no dispute that we have a housing crisis.The difference between the govt and the Labour party is the way we would go about resolving it.
Our Housing Policy is a coherent strategy, linked closely to our employment and economic policy, since a mass building programme will create new jobs, generate taxes both on building products and through workers paying taxes. It also tackles the issue of high private rents (many of which are subsidised by Housing Benefits), and will open up opportunities for people to buy affordable homes.
The people who will probably lose out somewhat, in terms of income, and requirements to ensure that properties are fit to let, wiill be private landlords. Everyone else will benefit.
So what is the government doing about Housing?
Well last year a Labour amendment to the Housing Act to require all landlords to ensure their properties are kept in a ‘liveable standard’ was defeated.
That’s right. The government doesn’t think that it’s important that homes are fit to live in.
Wonder why? well maybe it has something to do with the fact that 39% of Tory MPs are landlords.,
On 21st September, 2015 Government Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, announced a plan to build 1 million new houses by 2020.
Wonderful news! So, how is it going so far? Figures for the October to December quarter of 2015 and the whole of 2016 show that a total of 190, 560 new homes have been built. That’s a lot of houses.
Sadly, though it’s not enough. Here’s the sums: 1,000,000 houses in 51 months = 19, 600 houses per month if the Government’s own target is to be reached 190, 560 houses built in 15 months = 12, 704 houses per month So, even in the first phase of this ‘new strategy’, only 65% of the target has been reached.
The bad news doesn’t end there. Within the total number of houses built, those built by Housing Associations and Local Authorities amount to 30, 240 – a mere 15% of the total.
This is discouraging (to say the least) for those seeking social housing accommodation. And it gets worse. Of housing built by private enterprise, Theresa May has committed to ensuring that only 30,000 (less than 3.5%) of them will be ‘low-cost’. But even amongst all this new building, there will be no easing of the situation for those compelled to rent. The government deliberately obstructs debate about rent control.
So there it is. The government is interested in feathering the nests of property investors and landlords. The national Charities, Shelter, and Joseph Rowntree Foundation are just two organisations that have undertaken research and policy development in this area. They are the specialists, read their views here: .
This research highlights the difficulties faced by students. https://www.ussu.co.uk/voice/Documents/LivingAtTheLimitWeb.pdf
To go right back to the start, the Labour pledge is to ensure a secure and decent home for everyone. Isn’t that a government’s responsbility? Not everyone is able to afford to meet their own housing needs, whether through ill health, unemployment, or simply low wages. And the current system is increasing the number of those people every year. It’s just not good enough and this Labour pledge is the way to turn it around.