This week the National Housing Federation is running a Yes to Homes week to encourage councillors to allow more homes to be built within their areas. From their website:
Just a small handful of people can block the new homes that are a lifeline for many. When they are the only people putting pressure on local politicians their views are heard loud and clear.
All too often the people who actually need homes are missing from local debates. That’s why we have launched the Yes to Homes campaign. We want to make sure people who do support more housing are included in the debate.
Tim Farron has written a blog for them in which he talks about the desperate need for homes, particularly in rural areas. It’s not about buildings, he says, it’s about people:
But the housing debate isn’t about buildings, it’s about people. It’s appalling that in significant parts of the UK, you need a salary of at least £100,000 to stay in the village you grew up in. And it’s not just a few people – the problem is real, and it’s widespread.
It’s a problem exacerbated by second homes – in St Minver, North Cornwall, more than 42% of homes are owned by part-time residents. In communities like Elterwater in my constituency it is as high as 86%. This has a real and major impact on a community. Post Offices become unviable, school roll numbers become unsustainable, bus routes are axed and services removed.
It should be local communities, not Whitehall, who determine their area’s housing needs and build accordingly:
Too much emphasis is put on the concept that building affordable homes is like a mathematical formula dictated by central government, when it shouldn’t be. It needs to be driven by councillors and local people so that it is tailored to local factors and the local economy. An affordable home in Wiltshire isn’t the same as the valleys of Wales and we need the government to reflect that.
And he outlines what the lack of housing means for families while saying that fixing it is a central mission for our party.
When I visit constituencies from Cornwall to Ceredigion and from Eastbourne to Edinburgh, I hear the same stories – families desperate for a home to call their own. Families struggling on, week after week and living on a waiting list for an affordable or council house, just hoping the call will come telling them they have a home.
The wait must be awful, but we have the power to fix this. There are things that national government can do: the Liberal Democrats have unveiled a series of policy ideas showing how we can boost growth – including a plan to build up to 25,000 new council houses. However, we will only be able to tackle the housing crisis with the support of Liberal Democrat councillors working together with local people to get the homes built locally.
I have met people that live in squalid homes because it is all that they can afford. That should not happen in 21st century Britain. We should work to fix it and this should be a central mission of our party.
You can read the whole article here.
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