13 September, 2022

Cabinet to discuss call for government to provide more affordable rented homes

The country is failing people in housing need. 

That’s the message that Thanet District Council is proposing to  raise with the government as part of a campaign to tackle the issue.

A report setting out the current unsustainable position will be discussed by members of the Cabinet at their meeting on Thursday 22 September.

The council has already committed significant funding to the construction of new affordable rented homes and wants to do more. The aim is to see that a far greater proportion of the new homes constructed in Thanet are affordable for people living and working locally.

Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Jill Bayford said: “We are doing everything we can to support our most vulnerable residents whose ongoing challenges are made worse by the dire need for housing in our district. But we simply don’t have the resources to be able to deliver what’s needed. 

“With the support of my Cabinet colleagues, we will be lobbying the government to call for desperately needed changes in legislation and funding, to give us the powers and resources we need to be able to tackle this. 

“I have personally raised these issues before, directly with the previous Secretary of State for Housing, and it is clear from the response to this, that a more coordinated campaign for change is required. The national shortage of homes, together with a trend for more people to work from home following the COVID pandemic, has impacted massively on local house prices and led to extortionate rises in the local private sector rents too. Further compounded by the cost of living crisis, we’re seeing more and more people unable to afford to maintain their current living situations and as a direct result, increasing numbers are facing homelessness and seeking respite in temporary accommodation.

“And this isn’t all about the money! As the report which will be presented to Cabinet sets out, the council has access to a budget to build new council homes, but struggles to access suitable land for construction at the pace needed. We are seeking greater government funding for new affordable rented homes and changes to the national planning regime to ensure that more of the homes built meet the needs of local people. The current situation is just untenable.

“We are keen to work on this issue with our colleagues across the political spectrum, enabling a more coordinated campaign for desperately needed change.”

The Cabinet report addresses the issues of housing need and housing delivery and also directs specific requests to the government, designed to help accelerate the pace of delivery of affordable rented homes.

If the report is formally adopted at Cabinet, it will be used as the basis of a campaign aimed at lobbying the new Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Simon Clarke MP, for changes to legislation, regulation and funding arrangements so that more affordable rented homes can be delivered quickly.

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