At Full Council tonight, Ealing Labour slammed the Conservative Government and previous coalition Governments for their appalling record on house building.
The housing market is broken. 4.2 million people across the country are waiting for a council home, and the housing charity Shelter warn that up to one million more people may be forced onto the streets this winter. More and more people are now stuck in the Private Rented Sector when they should have a council home, driving up demand and rent costs, and in Ealing, there are currently 11,000 people on our housing waiting list. At the same time, for those in socially rented homes, standards are languishing as a succession of Governments have decimated tenant engagement. The ability of tenants to engage with
their landlords or social housing provider was slashed by the coalition government – Government closed the Tenant Services Authority and National Tenant Voice in 2010, stripping tenants of their ability to have a voice when it came to their homes1.
This has been a perfect storm for tenants across the country. The underlying problem with Britain’s housing market is underinvestment – a trend started by the coalition Government and continued by the Tories. Public investment in housing has never returned to its pre-2010 level. Successive Conservative-led Governments have not only singularly failed to build the social homes we need over the past 12 years but have overseen their loss on an unprecedented scale.
The Government’s failure to build new homes often means that there is simply not enough socially rented homes available to move people to if their home is unsafe. 134,483 social homes for rent were either sold or demolished without direct replacement between 2010 and 2021, causing an average net loss of over 12,000 desperately needed, genuinely affordable homes a year.
But at Ealing Labour, we’re committed to providing to stepping in where the Government won’t. After building 2,700 genuinely affordable homes between 2018-2022, we’re going even further in our ambitious plans to build as many more safe, secure genuinely affordable homes as possible.
On top of that, we’re also making improvements to our existing homes, and to homes in Ealing owned by other landlords to ensure that as many residents as possible can live in secure, safe homes. Last year, we published our tenancy strategy – asking housing associations to offer lifetime tenancies to their tenants.
We’re also spending £400 million on improving our existing housing stock to ensure that as many of our tenants as possible, and we’re getting tough on rogue landlords.
Ealing Labour also recognises that, when it comes to health and issues with repairs, there is a greater systemic issue in private rented accommodation. While 66% of social rented homes EPC ratings of A-C, just 42% of private rented homes do (EHS). At Ealing Council, we’re committed to driving up standards for those renting privately. Our recently extended PRS selective licensing scheme, which is set to be the largest of its kind in west London, will come into force on 3 January 2023. This is our largest and most ambitious property licensing scheme to date, and it demonstrates our continued commitment to supporting
landlords while taking a strong approach to tackling poor property conditions.
We at Ealing Labour are unapologetic in our ambition to ensure that as many tenants as possible can live in a safe, secure and genuinely affordable home. But councils and housing associations need support, and funding, from the Government. If the Government are serious about fixing the housing crisis – they must help councils to build more homes.