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Labour calls for action on social housing

Social housing

 

Labour has called for parties to work together following the Government’s announcement that it wants councils to return to building homes for social rent.

This month’s announcement by Theresa May follows years of Conservative opposition to social housing, both nationally and here in York.  But the Prime Minister’s announcement last week that councils will be supported to build more genuinely affordable homes has led Labour to call on the council’s ruling Tory-led Coalition to open a debate on how the city meets its affordable housing needs.
 
Labour councillor Michael Pavlovic said:
 
“This announcement has come as something of a surprise and is one we need to understand the impact of locally.  We have over 1,600 people on the waiting list for a social rented home here in York – with over 200 in ‘gold band’ - those in the most desperate need for a home.  Given the Local Plan is not going to deliver the level of genuinely affordable housing people in this city need, we need to discuss collectively as a council how we are going to deliver it.
 
“This announcement offers an opportunity to start that conversation”.
 
Analysts are sceptical that the amount of funding announced by the Government will achieve much at all, with some putting the figure at as little as 5,000 extra homes for the funding identified.  Given the desperate need across many parts of the country, this could be a drop in the ocean, according to Coun. Pavlovic:
 
“We need to make York’s case for some of this funding as a starter, however small the pot of money is. But more fundamentally for this administration, we need to hear whether or not it believes in building socially rented homes at all. All social housing York has seen built in recent years was commissioned and funded by the previous Labour council. And Coalition councillors have sought to reduce the amount of housing delivered on Labour-commissioned schemes, such as Newbury Avenue which, almost two and half years after taking control of the council, has still not been given the green light”.
 
Coun. Pavlovic said Labour would be seeking talks with ruling parties in the coming weeks to discuss whether the council’s approach to providing more social housing will change following Theresa May’s announcement.

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