Shrewsbury Lib Dems met on 29th April to hear a talk from Martin Holland, South Shropshire Housing Association, about housing problems and solutions in Shropshire.
This was part of a regular series of meetings organised by the Lib Dems to discuss current political issues. Dr Charles West, PPC for Shrewsbury and Atcham, chaired a lively discussion.
Despite recent financial crises, we heard that house prices in Shropshire had not fallen as much as in other parts of the country. This, together with persistent low wages in Shropshire means that it remains almost impossible for many people to get onto the housing ladder. We learned also that prices in the private rented sector had not fallen.
The failings of local authorities, not least Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council under Tory control, to commit to affordable housing was lamented by successive speakers. Many expressed the view that to see a rise in house prices as some sign of economic recovery can only be bad news for young people on average earnings in Shropshire.
Various models of part ownership with Housing Associations or Councils were discussed together with a more imaginative approach to renting as opposed to ownership.