Friday, 19 March 2010

Shelter report on Sefton

A new report from Shelter makes challenging reading. My thanks to Roy Connell for bringing it to my attention. The headlines from the report assert that Sefton is 278 out of 323 councils for supplying affordable housing.
You would have to earn £40,761 to afford to buy an average-priced house in your Sefton. (this average is significantly reduced by taking the Borough as a whole. If you were living in Southport then the cost would be much higher).
Independent experts say our area needs to build 2,398 homes per year. Our council planned for 180 new affordable homes to be provided in your area last year.

I think that this puts in context the battle we had in Southport last year when an affordable housing scheme was opposed by Anthony White the Conservative Candidate for Kew Ward who led a populist Nimby campaign with the support of the Tory parliamentary candidate. Shame. The site was one which had been designated for housing for more than a generation. Well congratulations to Maureen Fearn, Fred Weavers and Mike Booth who stood out against that campaign and argued the case for more affordable housing. More,much more still needs to be done.

The LGA has put out a statement about the Shelter campaign:

Responding to Shelter’s affordable homes league table, Cllr Gary Porter (Conservative), chairman of the Local Government Association Environment Board, said:

“It is depressing that an organisation which presents itself as a serious advocate for better housing policy is using flawed research to lay the blame for the shortage of affordable housing at councils’ doors.

“Councils up and down the country want to build and refurbish homes that families need. A serious plan for increasing the number of affordable homes needs to address the barriers which stand in the way of councils building the homes they know people need.

“The fact is that until the housing downturn almost half of affordable housing was being built because councils make sure they negotiate with private developers when they apply for permission to build homes for sale. Councils have not been able to do anything about the impact of the global recession.

“Town halls have also been campaigning for years to change the way council housing is funded to allow them to build hundreds of thousands of much needed homes and have outlined proposals this week that could help councils deliver up to 500,000 affordable homes.

“It is good news that the Government has said it wants to address this. We are waiting on Ministers to unveil the next stage of their proposals as they have promised to do before the end of the Parliamentary session.

“It is also good news that for the first time in 20 years the Government is funding council building on a serious scale, and councils are building 4,000 new homes this year. The rapid takeup of this scheme shows there is an appetite among councils to deliver homes. They could do more if the Government allowed them to raise money to build homes in the same way as housing associations and private companies.”

More here

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