‘WE SIMPLY can’t fix the housing crisis without more council homes,’ Labour Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey told News Line yesterday, responding to Theresa May’s calls for more private house building. Healey added: ‘Labour will begin the biggest council house building programme for over 30 years, removing counterproductive government restrictions that stop councils building.’
Out of 15,000 new homes planned to be built in Manchester, not one can even be considered ‘affordable’ under the government’s own definition. Not a single new council home is being built.
In Sheffield, just 1.4% of new homes planned are considered ‘affordable’. In Nottingham, the figure was 3.8% of new homes built dubbed ‘affordable homes’.
The Local Government Association said: ‘The last time the country delivered 300,000 homes which this country needs each year, in the 1970s, councils were responsible for more than 40 per cent of them and it’s essential that we get back to that. ‘In order for that to happen, councils have to be able to borrow to build homes again.’
The LGA concludes: ‘The government must back the widespread calls, including from the Treasury Select Committee, for council borrowing and investment freedoms to spark a renaissance in house building by local government.’ However when News Line contacted the LGA, it would not confirm that by house building it meant council house building.
Meanwhile as the snow thaws and temperatures rise above zero, councils are no longer obliged to provide homeless people with emergency accommodation. As a result many of the emergency shelters shut yesterday and homeless people were turfed back out onto the streets.
Options for homeless people are bleak. Night shelters are not free. Hostels charge rent and you usually need a referral. B&Bs offer basic temporary accommodation. Most are run as private businesses and are costly. Wrexham council wants to use land at the rear of Ty Nos homeless shelter on Holt Road for four shipping containers for temporary accommodation!