Is enough being done in our region to tackle the balance of social housing?

11 November 2019

Paul Jeater

Paul Jeater says:

We should all have a safe, affordable, secure and warm place to call home. Unfortunately, the housing market has failed to provide secure & affordable homes for many people. It is a classic case of market failure.

The problem stems from a change in culture whereby houses have been seen as investments rather than homes. Since the 1980s the stock of public sector housing has been allowed to dwindle as council owned homes have been sold off and tragically not replaced. The dogmatic adherence to ideology  by both Conservative and New Labour governments, benefitted a new generation of property speculators while creating a whole generation of young people unable to afford to get on the bottom rung of the so-called housing ladder.

Brentwood Council are being asked to build in excess of 7,500 homes in the next twenty years. That’s approximately 380 new homes each year, but how many of those will be available at rents that are affordable with long tenancies, that allow the security necessary to build a life in a community?

Homes are being built but they are anything but affordable. In my village new two-bedroom apartments are being marketed at £525,000. All you need is a £52,000 deposit and the ability to pay a monthly mortgage of £2469. What chance do local young people have of staying in their local area, at these prices?

We need to make social housing available on brown field sites across the UK and bring the housing market under control. The priority is not to build more ‘executive homes’ but instead to build affordable, zero carbon rated homes for rent that are available to those stuck in private rented accommodation with little or no hope of living in the type of home that their parents’ generation took for granted.

This article was originally published in the Essex Chronicle

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