Labour Housing Group Executive member Graham Martin moved the housing resolution passed unanimously yesterday at Labour Conference in Liverpool.
The resolution notes the growing housing crisis that will be created by the Government’s policies, falling housing starts, huge cuts to the social housebuilding programme, a jump in homelessness, and the rising costs of housing benefit caused by increased dependence on the private rented sector and escalating rents.
Specifically it calls for a shift in financing of private landlords away from buying existing homes, causing unfair competition with first time buyers, towards investment in new properties which would add to the stock and boost growth.
It welcomes the initiative by Ed Miliband and Ed Balls to extend the tax on bankers’ bonuses to invest in new affordable homes. It calls for the defence of the rights of social tenants and the delivery of more social housing to be campaigning priorities for Labour in opposition.
In his speech, Graham warned that the Government’s policies run the risk of triggering ‘an
avalanche of mortgage repossessions’. In reference to private renting, he said ‘It is like the game musical chairs but now it is musical tenancies and as your private sector tenancy comes to an end you have to go and move. And as you play musical tenancies, your child has to play musical schools and musical doctors…. And if you are unlucky enough to need housing benefit to help pay the rent, hey presto this government has taken half the empty homes away. And now this government thinks it is such a good idea they are trying to bring in musical tenancies for council and housing association tenants.’
‘Our children need stable homes, strong communities need stable homes, and what is going on is a way to break communities.’