Dartford Borough Council – Labour Motion on the proposed Housing and Planning Bill Intended Speech by Cllr Daisy Page – Deputy Leader, Dartford Labour
Prevented from being delivered by the Tories' closure motion
"This Governments housing record is one of Five Years of Failure. Since 2010 Conservative Ministers have presided over the lowest levels of house building in peacetime since the 1920s when David Lloyd George was Prime Minister. There are now two hundred and five thousand fewer home-owning households since 2010. The number of under-35s owning a home has fallen by 20% since 2009-10. The average deposit is now £57,000 compared with £43,000 in 2010.
"I am very concerned about the removal of the section 106 requirements on private developers to provide affordable homes, to be replaced by the 'starter homes' programme in the Housing and Planning Bill. This will increase the powers and profits of private developers, taking nearly 3 billion pounds away from local government funds and with no consideration for working people, couples and families who will find homeownership pushed further away from their grasp and achievement. I believe this policy will only worsen the housing crisis in the South East and it will certainly worsen what is already a diabolical housing record from this government. Here’s why..
"Analysis by Shelter shows that families on the government’s ‘national living wage’ will only be able to afford a starter home in 2% of local authority areas, with the vast majority of areas including the North East, the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber remaining affordable – not Dartford or the South East. Most families earning average wages will not be able to afford a starter home in the majority of local authority areas, with the South East and Dartford remaining unaffordable to families on average incomes.
"Starter homes are being funded through developers’ planning obligations at the expense of genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy. Clauses 3-6 of the Bill require planning authorities to promote starter homes over other types of housing, which will choke off new affordable homes and investment in local infrastructure which we urgently need in Dartford. This will lead to a huge loss of genuinely affordable homes.
"Around half of all affordable homes built in the last decade were funded through section 106 obligations – approximately two hundred and 34 thousand homes. At its peak under Labour, in 2008/9, this enabled over 32,000 homes to be built. Yet, the latest available figures for 2013/14 show that this figure has already halved to just over 16,000 under this Government.
"Unfortunately, in Dartford, according to data from the Department for Communities and Local Government, 79 right to buy homes were sold in the last three years, with 0, yes no new affordable homes built to replace them in our borough.
"In September of this year, the Public Accounts Committee reported on this Governments disposal of public land for new homes to be built on. In June 2011, the Housing Minister announced that government planned to "release enough public land to build as many as 100,000 new, much-needed, homes and support as many as 25,000 jobs by 2015". However, the Government cannot tell us how many of these homes now exist – or will ever exist. Instead it appears simply to have hoped huge numbers of houses would spring up across the country.
"I could continue outlining how this government has failed to provide the house building and affordable homes Dartford and our country needs. This Bill does nothing to correct the causes of this Governments failures in delivering its home building plans and in many areas will make the housing crisis much worse. Home-ownership has fallen every year since 2010, and this Bill is a big let-down for aspiring home-owners. It leaves home-ownership out of reach for most families and young people on ordinary incomes. This Bill will lead to a huge loss of affordable homes to rent and buy, which will intensify the spiral of ever higher housing costs, especially in the south east and Dartford. I urge this Council to do all it can to try to stop this bill from ruining the chances of Dartford residents from owning an affordable home.
- Labour undertook the biggest affordable housing investment programme in a generation, committing £8.4bn over three years from 2008.
- By 2013/14 the Tories had cut this back to £660m. More than eight in ten genuinely affordable homes built under the Coalition in the last Parliament were built under programmes inherited from Labour.
- When the financial crisis struck, Labour’s mortgage rescue scheme meant that repossessions were over a third lower than in 1991 with the Tories, when over 75,000 homes were repossessed, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.