Today Labour announced that it plans to build one million homes, across the UK, half of them for council rent. Without enough housing to meet demand, families face multiple moves, precarious rents and are at risk of unsafe living conditions. Labour believe everyone has a right to stable, affordable, high quality housing that offers a solid foundation for thriving communities.
(Photo: Archer Road - Stevenage Borough Council built housing.)
Under the Tories, rents are soaring, home ownership is falling, and house building has dropped to its lowest peace time rate since the 1920s. Many in Stevenage simply cannot afford to buy or rent privately.
Locally the need is urgent. Homelessness in Stevenage has increased by 100% over the past 12 months. In ten years the average cost of buying a home in Stevenage has increased by 60.22% compared with 23.29% in the UK as a whole. This means average prices have overtaken the national average. How many first time buyers, or many other local people, will be able to afford £280,000? That’s the average cost for all homes including flats. Unless younger people are to be forced out of their own town we must be allowed to do something to tackle this problem.
While the average cost of housing in Stevenage has caught and overtaken the national average the earnings for people living in Stevenage is below the average. In 2016 the average gross weekly wage for full-time workers in Stevenage was £533.90 compared with £544.70 in England as a whole. A difference of £562 per year.
In Stevenage, our Labour Borough Council has already committed to investing £1 billion in council housing in Stevenage up to 2030, including £448 million for 2000 new council houses, despite the Conservative Government cuts to funding for council houses. It is also working with developers to bring even more housing to Stevenage. However the lack of affordable housing, not just in Stevenage but across the UK, requires a nationally coordinated initiative, which a Labour Government will deliver.
Research shows that Labour Councils have built on average 2,577 new homes between 2010 and this year, compared with only 1,679 in Tory-led areas and even less, 1,660 by LibDem Councils (House of Commons library).
Only Labour can solve the housing crisis.
Earnings statistics from Nomis (Official labour market statistics from ONS, the Office for National Statistics).
Promoted by David Wood on behalf of Labour’s Candidates, all at 4 Popple Way, Stevenage, SG1 3TG (01438 222800; contact@StevenageLabour.org).