Lyn Brown

Member of Parliament for West Ham

Housing Horrors - May 2011

Housing is one of the biggest issues raised at my surgeries, in my post-box and when I’m out and about.  Naturally, when a debate was called on the state of housing in London, I just had to speak.

London’s population is increasing; demand for housing is high.

House prices are prohibitive.  The average London house costs about fourteen times the average London salary.  Home ownership is often beyond the reach of those on low and modest incomes.  Young friends of mine, renting in the private sector, are unable to accumulate the deposits necessary to obtain mortgages.

Many ordinary Londoners have no choice, but to live in the private rented sector, where standards are variable and rents cost three times more than for Council or Housing Association homes.

In Newham, 30,000 people are on the housing waiting list, waiting in the vain hope of Council or Housing Association properties.  Many families will wait much too long.

The only solution is to build more affordable homes to rent and buy.

During the recession, the Labour government increased construction of new affordable homes in London and protecting construction jobs, too.

This Government slashed the budget available to build new Housing Association homes and claims that cutting the budget need not affect house building.  Instead, Housing Associations should charge much higher rents.  This will inevitably price people, especially larger families, out of their homes.

This Government does not understand the needs of ordinary people.  Policies intended to ‘solve’ the housing crisis will have the reverse effect.  We cannot afford this chaotic Coalition to continue for much longer.

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