I was interested to read in yesterday’s Guardian about some of Ruth Kelly’s plans for social housing which included helping people onto the housing ladder by giving them the option to buy 10% of their council or housing association home.
More interesting is Luke Akehurst’s blog entry having seen Ruth Kelly speak on housing policy at the Fabians yesterday. Luke reports that Ruth Kelly said that the money raised from this would be re-invested in new stock.
In response to questions, Kelly was reported to have said, “yes we need to build more social homes … more council homes, more housing association homes.” She suggested there was funding to come for building social housing in the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review. I certainly hope that this is the case, this will be very good news indeed.
In the Rothwell ward, where I live, I’m constantly contacted by people who are in desperate need of social housing and can’t get anywhere because of the shocking shortage of council housing in Rothwell and in Leeds as a whole. We’re in a situation where housing rarely comes up, and when it does it’s all too often allocated to people from outside our area, leaving local young people and families having to stay with family or friends in overcrowded conditions, which often means that relationships, health and the education of children suffer.
The local Labour Party is calling for the Lib Dem/Tory coalition who run Leeds City Council, to provide more affordable housing, including to buy, and social housing to rent. The situation in Rothwell, and Leeds has reached crisis point and we are determined that something should be done about it.
I think that this issue has to be a priority and it’s good that Ruth Kelly is looking seriously at this. This is, in my view, precisely what the Labour Party exists for – improving the quality of life for ordinary working people.
You can read all of Ruth Kelly’s speech here.