Another nail in the coffin for social housing

Caroline Lucas, the Green Party’s MP for Brighton Pavilion, will vote against the Housing and Planning Bill later today.

Lucas, who tabled a reasoned amendment to the Bill at Second Reading, has labelled the legislation as ‘another nail in the coffin for British social housing’. She will speak later today at a rally organised by Defend Council Housing.

She said:
“The housing crisis is biting hard. Renting is unaffordable, our social housing stock is dwindling and buying a home is still an impossible dream for many. And, as with so many of the challenges our society faces, it is the young who are suffering the worst.

“The Government had an opportunity to utterly rethink the housing model – but instead Parliament is being presented with legislation that’s going to make the situation far worse – and put another nail in the coffin for British social housing.

“There are a few good measures in the Bill. The provisions on rogue landlords, letting agents and the introduction of a brownfield register are welcome – but they simply don’t go far enough to protect renters or encourage the building of truly affordable homes.

“The overall effect of this legislation will be inflict further harm on those already suffering and to drag more people into the housing crisis. It will decrease the amount of social housing, fail to bring down sky-high rental costs and do nothing to keep people warm in their homes.

“For example the Bill should have looked at ways to make rents fall – but it doesn’t even go as far as bringing in smart rent controls to keep them in line with inflation.”
Lucas went on to say:

“The Government should also have seized this moment to ‘eco-fit’ homes across the UK. That means solar panels on every suitable house (as well as on public buildings) and a mass-insulation scheme across the UK – which would create jobs, cut heating bills and keep people warm in their homes. Instead there’s no guarantee in the Bill that new homes will be energy efficient – and no commitment to the kind of retrofitting scheme we desperately need. Another opportunity squandered.”

“The housing crisis we’re facing is the result of botched policies by successive Governments – and this latest Bill is set to compound that failure. I’ll be voting against the Housing and Planning Bill later today – and I’d urge MPs from all sides of the House of Commons to do the same.”

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