Hackney Liberal Democrats welcome Labour adopting their innovative house building proposals but say Labour’s version does not go far enough.
By Darren Martin, Hackney Liberal Democrat Press Officer.
Hackney Town Hall has launched a consultation on plans to set up a local housing company to tackle the lack of availability of affordable homes in the Borough. The company that the council would set up would aim to build homes let at ‘affordable’ London Living Rent rates and avoid the restrictions on local authority borrowing which often prevent new homes from being built.
With three in four Hackney residents renting rather than owning their own homes and with private sector rents rising by over a third in the past five years, Hackney Liberal Democrats very much welcome a fresh approach to housing in the borough especially as the population in Hackney continues to rise causing additional pressures on stocks.
In fact the Labour proposal bears a striking resemblance to a policy put forward at the 2014 Hackney Mayoral campaign where the then Liberal Democrat candidate Simon de Deney set out plans for 12,000 new homes using exactly this sort of model.
In a statement Simon de Deney said,
“We very much welcome Labour converting to one of our policy proposals that we have been passionate about for a long time, especially as they have done nothing for decades whilst people have been forced out and communities broken up because they can no longer afford to live in the borough.
“ I am a little surprised by the announcement as in a debate in 2014 with the now Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, we proposed this very idea that has worked so well in other parts of London. Philip was adamant then that it could not be done so we welcome the change of heart. However, Labour’s proposal needs to go further and is missing some of the key elements that we put forward.
“We proposed building 12,000 proper council homes and not just ‘affordable’ ones as we know that many people in Hackney cannot afford the London Living Rent rates. We also wanted to put communities at the heart of the planning process so that it wasn’t just a question of building new homes but making sure everyone felt part of the process and were included in decision-making.
“We at the Hackney Lib Dems welcome the chance to discuss the plans further with the Mayor so that we can incorporate some more of our ideas into the proposals.”
The housing strategy consultation is open until 22 May 2017. You can add your voice to the consultation here.