Stockport’s Labour Council Leader, Alex Ganotis has joined calls from a wide range of Labour MPs and political representatives for Government action on the housing crisis, signing a letter critical of housing policy and calling for greater measures to be taken.
The letter notes that Theresa May’s conference policy announcement the Government will build 5,000 affordable homes ‘could actually see a fall in the number of socially rented homes built’ and ‘follows in a long line of policy decisions that Tory Ministers have made on housing…which have done nothing to fix the current housing crisis….and made problems worse’.
The letter goes on to call for a range of measures from Government which could ease the burden on the many people struggling to find homes, affordable and secure rent or save to buy their own home. These include clarifying the law so councils can offer homes to local people first without facing legal challenge, scrapping the ‘bedroom tax’, and dropping legislation to force the sale of Council homes through the high value levy. Alongside this, the letter calls for the building of thousands more affordable homes both to buy and to rent to help people save up for and buy their own properties.
Coordinated by John Healey MP, Labours Shadow Minister for Housing, the letter has been signed by more than 50 regional Labour representatives including Council Leaders and Members of Parliament. Excerpts from the letter were published in the Observer on Sunday on October 4th.
Cllr Alex Ganotis, commented:
“I signed this letter because it is crucial we speak with a strong voice on this issue. Theresa May’s policy to address the housing crisis through building tiny numbers of affordable homes per year is an insult to all those struggling hard to find affordable rental properties, save to buy their first home or even find secure accommodation at all.
“We need a Government which is prepared to intervene where the market has failed on this issue, and come up with a meaningful investment strategy to address this housing crisis now. This is already affecting lives and without real action will only worsen.”
Stockport Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing and Communities, Cllr Sheila Bailey added:
“Increasingly residents come to me saying they struggle to afford rental accommodation, let alone being able to save the deposits needed to buy.
“That is why in Stockport we have taken action to do what we can to provide affordable housing, through setting up our own Viaduct housing partnership –– which has already begun building social rental and affordable housing in the Borough.
“Despite these efforts and the good work through similar council schemes around the land, this alone can’t fix the Housing crisis. For that, we need a Government willing to give Councils the necessary powers and proper funding to build what is needed locally – alongside a nationwide housing programme to build millions, not thousands of homes.
“In one of the richest countries in the world, it is a staggering failure of Government to allow one of the basic requirements of life – a secure home- to be beyond the scope of ordinary people.”
- The full text of the letter, along with full list of signatories can be found here: http://wp.me/p2id4f-1sr
- Excerpts for the letter appear in this Observer article: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/07/hammond-benefit-cap-homelessness-budget-housing