Faisal Rashid MP recently hosted a housing summit in Warrington South to discuss some of the most pressing housing issues facing the constituency.
The panel event, which took place at Bold Street Methodist Church and was chaired by Faisal, included Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister Sarah Jones MP, Leader of Warrington Borough Council, Councillor Russ Bowden, Torus Chief Executive Steve Coffey and the Founder of the National Leasehold Campaign, Katie Kendrick.
Over the last nine years under the Conservative Government private rents have soared, rough sleeping has more than doubled, home-ownership is down sharply for young people with almost 900,000 fewer young homeowners since 2010 and as a country we are now building over 30,000 fewer social rented homes a year than when Labour left office.
Faisal organised the event as a forum to discuss any local housing concerns – and to give residents the opportunity to put their questions to the panellists. The panellists and audience discussed the current challenges and the action that was needed to tackle these problems. Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, Sarah Jones, talked about the steps Labour will take to address these issues in Government.
During the event the panellists talked about a wide range of issues, including the need for more social and affordable housing, the leasehold scandal and Warrington Borough Council’s Local Plan. An audience question and answer session followed the panellists’ contributions.
Faisal Rashid MP said:
“Across the country, we are facing a housing crisis. Many people are struggling to afford to rent or to buy a decent home. This is leading to overcrowding, evictions, rent arrears and homelessness. Tackling the housing crisis is one of the most pressing issues of our time.Public concern about housing is now around the highest level it has been in 40 years.
“Many people are finding that however much they save, it is getting harder to buy that first home. However many hours they might work or how much more they earn, rents still eat up more of their pay. And for those who do manage to buy a first home, many are finding themselves trapped in costly leasehold agreements. Over the last nine years, the Government has failed to tackle these housing problems.
“I hosted the Warrington South Housing Summit to understand how these issues are affecting my constituents. We heard from Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, Sarah Jones MP, who talked about the Government’s failures on housing policy – she highlighted the fact that under the Tories the building of social housing was at the lowest level since World War Two. And, she talked about the steps that a Labour Government would take to address the housing crisis head on. A Labour Government will build a million genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy over 10 years, scrapping the Tories’ definition of ‘affordable rent’ housing and replacing it with a new definition linked to local incomes. Labour will give councils the new funding and powers they need to kickstart the biggest council house building programme in nearly 40 years. Other measures would include action to free up more brownfield land for development, action to end land-banking and a whole raft of leasehold policies to tackle the scandal – helping both new and existing leaseholders.
“I was also delighted to be joined by panellists Council Leader Councillor Russ Bowden, who talked about housing challenges in Warrington, Torus Chief Executive Steve Coffey, who talked about housing challenges from a provider’s perspective, and Katie Kendrick, the founder of the National Leasehold Campaign, who spoke passionately about the leasehold scandal and the impact it is having on homeowners and the action that is needed to put an end to the rip-off practice once and for all.
“The Summit was a good opportunity to hear directly from local residents about their housing concerns. I will be feeding the comments raised throughout the event back to the Government for a response, to the Council in response to the Local Plan consultation and back to the Labour Party to help shape housing policies coming forward. And as the local MP I will continue to campaign for action on these crucial housing issues.”