Chamber views: Give us the power to provide homes

Sir Robin Wales

Sir Robin Wales - Credit: Newham Cll PR

Another Tory party conference passes, another set of piecemeal policies. The Prime Minister continues to talk about social justice but with no track record to back it up.

Theresa May’s leadership is unequal, unjust, unsteady and out of ideas. On Brexit and energy price caps she is taking policies presented by Labour. This is also true in the housing market announcements. In Newham, we have a scheme which is already protecting residents from the worst excesses of the broken housing market.

Our private sector licensing scheme has already seen 28 of the worst criminal landlords banned, and 1,215 prosecutions launched. Despite its success we must wait for the government to renew our scheme.

The Prime Minister also announced £2billion investment into affordable housing, but the housing charity Shelter said it represented “only a fraction of the long-term investment required”.

£2bn will provide around 25,000 social homes to deal with the 1.2m households on a waiting list. With around half the homes expected to go to London, this barely scrapes the surface of the issue. Our affordable housing company will deliver thousands of homes. The first 200 homes will be part of the historic Boleyn Ground development. We have done this with no help from the government. To truly tackle the housing crisis the government must improve its ambition, provide funds to councils to build houses, and give councils greater powers to licence the private rented sector to tackle criminal private landlords.

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