My letter to the Yorkshire Evening Post

I’d like to thank the Yorkshire Evening Post for reporting the
shocking shortage of affordable housing in Leeds (YEP, January 8). It
is outrageous that Councillor Les Carter dismisses the figures so
glibly. Doesn’t he realise that these numbers represent real people
who have to live in deplorable circumstances? Families with children
are forced to camp out in the homes of family or friends, because they
have nowhere else to go. This causes intolerable strain on personal
relationships, health and the education of children.

Even when homes do become available it is unlikely that local people
are in with a chance. In Rothwell where I live many of the homes that
are let by the council go to people from outside the area, leaving
local people to suffer in silence.

Thank goodness that Labour Councillor Richard Lewis wants to do
something about helping local people by calling for more affordable
housing for sale and for rent. It’s a shame that Councillor Carter
doesn’t care about the suffering his Tory run council is causing.

Karen Bruce
Town Street, Carlton, Rothwell


One Reply to “My letter to the Yorkshire Evening Post”

  1. Cllr Carter’s comments are absolutely breathtaking.
    This is one of the biggest social problems we face in Leeds, and to dismiss it as (effectively) an administrative quirk defies belief.
    I just don’t know how this is soluble though, unless LCC simply builds more houses. But the unavailability of land, combined with the willingness of private developers to build blocks of ‘professional’ flats seemingly anywhere in Leeds means that it’s not a problem that can be resolved anytime soon.
    It’s a liquidity problem – in reverse – private developers have access to so much cheap debt that they’re happy to leverage up their schemes on the back of rising prices in the future – and investors and financial institutions are happy to back their bet.
    The question is whether it’s sustainable. As an example, where I live (Methley), a developer is currently building flats and houses where the New Bay Horse used to be, and has gutted and refurbished a row of 4 terraced houses adjacent to the plot. As I understand it though, not one has yet sold. £150k for a 2 bed terrace is unaffordable for anyone who wants to live there, and is not a viable private investment (say, £500/month rent=£6k per year=4%) – the yield’s too low – you may as well put the money in the bank. It’ll be interesting to see what happens, but with interest rates ticking up and wage inflation remaining low, the prospects for sale are even worse – inevitably the price will have to come down, and probably materially so.
    Clearly, this is a tiny issue in a tiny dormitory village of Leeds – but if this became a trend, and sentiment moved against Leeds as a place to drop new blocks of flats – and interest rates ticked up – and the price of steel (another issue entirely) kept moving up – then perhaps the market will have intervened on LCC’s behalf to resolve house prices and affordability.
    But this is a long term shift – and LCC has to act now, whether PFI or self-funded – or face widening the division between the have lots and the have nots in Leeds.

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