Labour Party Social Housing Report response

23/04/2018
Hastoe responds to the Labour Party's Green Paper on Social Housing Policy.


England’s leading rural housing association, Hastoe, has responded to the Labour Party’s new social housing Green Paper, published on Thursday 19 April.

The report calls for a new definition of ‘affordable rent’, based on local incomes rather than market prices. It also commits a future Labour Government to end the Right to Buy for social housing and boost grant funding for housing associations to build more social homes.

The paper also includes a presumption that no development should be built without affordable housing, including smaller and rural sites.

Recommendations also include heavier regulation of housing associations, making them subject to Freedom of Information requests and mandating tenant representation on their boards.

The Government has pledged to produce its own Green Paper on social housing by the end of the Spring.

Commenting on the new Green Paper, Hastoe Chief Executive, Sue Chalkley, said:

“I strongly welcome the move towards a new definition of affordability in social housing, based on local incomes. The current system, tying rents to prices in a dysfunctional housing market, cannot and does not work – this is particularly so in rural areas where local wages are on average 23% lower than the national average but average house prices are 20% higher”.

“It is also very positive that the report recommends that developments of all sizes should make an affordable housing contribution. The current exemption for developments under 10 homes from providing affordable housing reduces supply of new affordable homes by approximately two thirds. This is critical when rural communities only have 8% affordable homes compared to nearly 20% in urban areas.”

“On greater regulation of housing associations, there is a need to be careful that housing associations are not reclassified as public bodies. We are independent providers and housing policies need to recognise and support this distinct status and our very particular position in the housing sector.”

“Most of all, I am glad to see how the report recognises the vital role housing associations can play in ending the housing crisis. Give us the grant funding and flexibility to build new affordable homes and we will deliver. This is our purpose”

“This green paper is a positive contribution to the debate on social housing and really throws down the gauntlet to Government to publish a green paper that supports housing associations to build quality, new affordable homes.”

 

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