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Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam, Emily Brothers has welcomed a motion passed at last night’s Full Council meeting to improve the supply of affordable housing. However, Ms Brothers expressed concern that local authority plans lack transparency. She said:
“I heard a lot of criticism from Lib Dem Councillors towards their Coalition Government, but little substance to what they may actually do locally. Cuts in central government funding and outrageous measures like the Bedroom Tax were implemented due to Lib Dem complicity. So it beggars belief that they should now go into denial about the cynical part they have played, as they are surely as culpable as their Conservative partners.
“I’m concerned about the lack of transparency about governance arrangements for the new housing company and how new homes will be managed. If it is anything like the chaos at Sutton Housing Partnership and the Council’s appalling Repairs Service then residents of any new properties are in for a difficult time.
“Labour’s plans will help the people of Sutton and Cheam have more of a say over where new homes are built and to ensure that first time buyers from the area are given priority access rights when these houses go on sale. Lib Dem Sutton Council had nothing to say about priorities or site locations, just more grandstanding.
“The Lib Dem Coalition with the Tories has seen the lowest levels of house-building in peacetime since the 1920’s and home ownership has declined to its lowest level in 30 years. By 2020 the average deposit for a home in the UK could be £72,000 and many first-time buyers are seeing their dream of home ownership disappear.”
Labour is committed to building 200,000 homes a year by 2020 and set a course for doubling the number of first-time buyers over the next decade. As part of this, local communities will be given the power to build the homes needed locally in the places people want to live and first time buyers from the area will be able to get priority access rights when these new homes go on sale. Ms Brothers explained:
“People don’t feel that the right kind of homes are getting built in the places they want. Developers seem to be in control rather than local people and the community doesn’t feel that the current housing system works for them. Labour will change that.
“In reviewing the Local Development Plan it will be essential to identify Growth Areas that can effectively draw on the strategy of the next Labour Government that intends to give the biggest capital settlement to housing in a generation.”

Labour is committed to increasing the number of homes built to at least 200,000 a year by 2020 and has set a national goal to double the number of first time buyers by 2025. To meet this goal, Labour has developed policies to ensure:
• Local communities have the power to build the homes needed in the places people want to live.
Local authorities will be able to designate new ‘Housing Growth Areas’ which will have powers to assemble land and give certainty that building will take place. They will also ensure on larger developments the planning gain that results will in part be used to invest in the schools, roads, green spaces and GP surgeries that make developments possible.
• First time buyers from the area can get priority access rights when these new homes go on sale.
• Labour will give the power to local authorities to reserve a proportion of homes built in ‘Housing Growth Areas’, for example 50%, for first-time buyers from the area who will have priority access for a period of two months. In addition, local authorities will be able to restrict the sale of homes in these areas so they cannot be sold for buy-to-let or buy-to-leave empty properties.
The full Lyons Housing Report is available for download here: http://lyonshousingreview.org


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