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Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales takes housing crisis seriously

PUBLISHED: 09:50 13 April 2016 | UPDATED: 09:50 13 April 2016

Newham Cll PR

Much has been written about the housing crisis and the impact it is having across the country.

In London boroughs like Newham, it is felt more acutely as almost half of our residents rent privately and earnings have failed to keep pace with costs. This has forced us to make some very tough decisions about how we can help some of our most vulnerable residents.

The crisis has been fuelled by a chronic failure to increase supply in London – too often this Conservative government has chosen to invest in programmes like the Help to Buy loans which help a select few while driving prices higher for everyone.

The government has sustained a brutal assault on social housing when residents need it most. Increased Right to Buy discounts means we are losing hundreds of social homes every year. We want people to buy their own homes but Right to Buy leads to social homes being unfairly rented out for private profit and financial restrictions mean replacement properties do not get built.

Our fight to stem this tide has seen us at the forefront of ground-breaking housing policies. Our private sector licensing scheme has improved rented accommodation standards. We also invested in the creation of Local Space, a not-for-profit landlord which provides quality temporary accommodation in Newham and neighbouring boroughs to tackle homelessness.

Through Red Door Ventures, we are increasing the supply of high quality private rented homes and our housing allocations policy continues to reward people who are in work. Despite these efforts, the wider system is failing. With housing costs continuing to rise, residents in private accommodation can fall into the clutches of exploitative rogue landlords or be forced out of the borough altogether.

We believe housing should be truly affordable and there needs to be a firm link between what people earn and what they are required to pay.

Over the coming months, I will be exploring new initiatives to re-establish that link. More from Sir Robin


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