My position on Decent, Affordable, Local Homes

Posted: 10/07/09

Home truths

A sizable portion of the cases which residents bring to me on a daily basis are linked to housing. Whether it is problems with overcrowding, mortgages, poor repairs and maintenance, housing benefits or nuisance neighbours housing matters to almost everyone is some way or other.

Along with my staff I'm committed to working tirelessly to get residents decent, affordable, and local housing. At the national level, I have campaigned for extra investment in affordable homes to rent and to buy.

A slap in the face for tenants

That is why I am particularly concerned about the type of policies now finding support among Conservatives. Put simply, they are showing their true face once again.

The Conservative Councillor who is deputy to the senior member for housing locally has described council housing as:

  • An ‘absurd, unjust and unfair subsidy' that is ‘an incentive not to improve ones lot by ones own effort'
  • A ‘unique version of "who wants to be a millionaire" UK welfare state style'
  • A ‘subsidy and production machine with lottery style levels of winnings'

How many of the thousands of people waiting for an affordable home, or living in over-crowded or unsuitable accommodation would recognise that?

However, these comments are less important than the fact that they chime with many of the actual policy ideas finding support amongst Conservatives. These include:

  • Ending secure tenancy - making it easier to force residents out of their homes
  • Raising rents to ‘market levels' to reduce what the Conservatives see as an unfair subsidy. This would mean a huge rise in rents, even though Westminster already has the second highest rents in the country.
  • Using planned rent rises to force tenants to move away from their families and community to lower cost areas.
  • Removing national requirements to provide affordable homes. (Westminster only managed to get one new home in ten in the borough set aside for affordable housing last year, so they need MORE pressure, not less).
  • Ending almost all duties to homeless families and leaving them to find private rental accommodation - usually at a huge cost.

We need to stand up against this attack on the millions of people nationally who choose to rent or cannot afford to buy their own home.

Not only do we want better housing, we want housing that people can afford.

We don't want to see people in housing need abandoned or forced out of their homes and local communities.

I am deeply concerned about these plans and I'm going to campaign vigorously in support of decent, affordable, local homes.

I will let you know what action I'm taking and would like to know your views.

If you want to tell me what you think, would like to receive updates on what I'm doing to take this campaign forward, or would like to show your support please email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Best wishes,

Karen Buck MP