It’s been nearly two years since Peterborough Conservatives at Peterborough City Council did a DEAL with a (London) property firm to evict 74 tenants from St Michael’s Gate, in Parnwell, many of whom had young children.
The predicament has not been helped either by the Council’s mismanagement of school places i.e. closing schools like Bretton Woods etc, which has meant the need to build two new schools, such as the ones at the Manor Drive/Paston Reserve area, which resulted in a reduction in affordable homes, that was previously agreed.
The number of affordable homes built in 2015/16 fell by 52% and was the lowest number in 24 years.
A steady decline in affordable housing and squeezes on household incomes has seen the number of households local authorities have been forced to place in temporary accommodation rise by 50% since 2010.
This is bad for families and communities and expensive for the council.
A renaissance in house-building by the City Council and a Government plan to reduce the squeeze on household incomes are both needed if we are to stand any chance of solving our housing crisis, reducing homelessness and the use of temporary accommodation, and sustainably reducing the housing benefit bill.
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It was recently announced that 15 housing associations will be working the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to deliver up to 40,000 affordable homes over the next 20 years.
They claim they’ll be building at least 2,000 additional affordable homes by 2021.
Last year we discovered that Barnet Council had bought 28 city properties, in order to move their own homeless families in to, despite our own city facing a housing crisis forcing local people to wait more than a year for a home.
At the time, we also discovered that the Conservative controlled City Council, had no idea that this had happened!
At the latest meeting of Full Council, at the Town Hall, I stood up and asked the Conservative Cabinet Member for Resourcese at Peterborough City Council, if he could:
“….let me know the names of each of the Cabinet Members that signed off on any Executive Decision relating to procuring services from Carillion, when the last Executive Decision was signed off and how much money the Council has borrowed and given to the aforementioned company?”
A recent article in the Guardian Newspaper, has placed Cambridge & Peterborough in 3rd place, behind London and the West of England, for having the highest median monthly private rents!
This news has come as no surprise to me!
I was literally speaking with a local resident of Gunthorpe the other day, who was complaining how his rent, for a single bedroom property had risen from £450 to £495 a month, in recent months.
I know that in the same area, about 4 years ago, similar properties were being rented for around £350 a month!
In my opinion, we need a City Council and Government committed to ending the insecurity for private renters by introducing controls on rent rises, more secure tenancies, landlord licensing and new consumer rights for renters.
We also need to empower tenants to call time on bad landlords by giving renters new consumer rights.
Renters are spending £9.6 billion a year on homes that the government classes as ‘non-decent’.
Around a quarter of this is paid by housing benefit.
A Labour government would introduce new legal minimum standards to ensure properties are ‘fit for human habitation’ and empower tenants to take action if their rented homes are sub-standard.
As always please let e know YOUR thoughts and opinions below!
This has meant that the council is supporting 328 families in temporary accommodation, creating a rising budget pressure of £1.7 million in 2018/19, expected to rise to £5.7 million over the next couple of years.
After 17 years of failure, the Conservatives in Peterborough still have no plan to fix the housing crisis.
“Homelessness is not inevitable in a country as decent and well off as ours. This problem can be solved, but it demands a new national will to do so.” – Cllr Darren Fower
Since 2010, house building has fallen to its lowest level since the 1920s, rough sleeping has risen every year, rents have risen faster than incomes, there are almost 200,000 fewer home-owners, and new, affordable house building is at a 24-year low.
I also believe we need to make ownership of land more transparent.