Building the homes we need

Ed Bramall, manager for a local Housing Association, writes:

In 2010 the biggest single cut imposed by the current Government was on money for new housing. It is no surprise that Bristol’s housing problem has exploded into a crisis with 2 families a day becoming homeless due to ever rising private rents and pitifully few new affordable homes to rent.

Every day I see families in our city forced to live in damp or overcrowded conditions, with inevitable impact on the health of their children. I know that this crisis can only be solved by building homes.

It is clear to me that far too often speculators sit on development land, waiting for prices to rise ever higher. That’s why I support Labour’s plans to give Bristol City Council the power to force developers to build where they have planning consent, or be forced to hand the land over to someone who will.

Money for the building of new, affordable homes has to be a priority. Families will benefit with new high quality homes, and so will the tax payer as this will reduce the £9 billion a year in housing benefit paid to private landlords.

Everyone should be able to live in a safe and secure home in the community where they have their roots. I know that Labour will get Bristol building again.

Karin Smyth says:

Everyone should be able to have a decent home, but for many who want to buy, owning a home has become an impossible dream.

The present Government’s “Help To Buy” has simply boosted unaffordable prices yet further. There are very few signs that more homes have been built anywhere as a result of this policy.

Labour has committed to 200,000 new homes a year by 2020. Here in Bristol South there are already plans to build 2,000, all on brownfield land. We must get on and build them and make sure they go to those who need them most. We want to ensure that first time buyers from south Bristol are given priority when these houses go on sale, not buy-to-let landlords or speculators.

In the last few years there has been a dramatic rise in private sector tenants. Young families have been priced out of home ownership, which is at a 30 year low. Across Britain more that 1 million families are now part of “Generation Rent”. These families, and everyone else who rents, need security for the longer term, not the constant worry of rent rises or short-term tenancies.

Labour will ensure that three year secure tenancies become the norm. We will ban agents from charging tenants hundreds of pounds in  unfair letting fees and we will limit annual rent increases to inflation. In the future every tenant will have predictable rent over a longer term which will provide affordability, stability and security.