A decent home at a price people can afford is essential for a healthy, happy family life. Yet for too many people the current housing shortage, combined with the cost of living crisis, is making rents increasingly expensive and putting homeownership out of reach.
We’re currently facing the biggest housing crisis in a generation with less than half the number of new homes we need being built. The Prime Minister is presiding over the lowest level of homes built in peacetime since the 1920s and already families are suffering from some of the worst housing shortages for a generation.
If home ownership is to be a realistic aspiration for local people, and rents are to be affordable, then we need to dramatically increase the number of homes being built both locally and across the country.
However the Government refuses to do anything about the housing crisis. We need councils to become ‘homebuilders’ by giving them a ‘right to grow’. Local authorities that want to expand and build the homes their communities need should have access to a fast-track planning process to resolve any disputes with neighbouring authorities that are blocking development.
I would also like to see action on the growing practice of land hoarding, whereby private developers hold onto land as it grows in value instead of actually building homes on it. Councils could be given powers to charge developers fees when they are sitting on land with planning permission and holding back development, and proper compulsory purchase order powers where developers sit on land and refuse to build.
These are just some of the ways we could deal with the housing crisis. We need to rebuild our country, get our construction industry working again and give families in the Rother Valley the security of a home they can afford.