Speaking at the Liberal Democrat conference today, local Shrewsbury campaigner Dr Charles West joined Sarah Teather MP in condemning Labour’s record on housing.
Sarah Teather said “Labour should be ashamed that waiting lists have as much as doubled in some areas. It is a disgrace that so many families are forced to wait for social housing whilst so many potentially good homes lie unoccupied.
“With many fighting against repossession we urgently need to replenish stocks of social housing. Allowing councils and housing associations to take out low cost loans to buy empty houses for use as social housing would given new hope to the millions still on waiting lists. There are 1.8 million on the housing waiting list. While 800,000 houses remain empty. And now the latest insult — snatching £15 a week of Local Housing Allowance from the purse of some of the most vulnerable families in Britain.”
Dr West said “Labour have let down the very people who were relying on them. They have continued with the old Tory policies of selling off council houses, refusing to build new, and failing to repair the old and dilapidated stock. In Shrewsbury and Atcham we have over 1,200 households in proven need of housing, and houses are lying empty here as well.
“I know of a family, where three grown up children are having to share their parents house. In effect there are four families living in a three-bedroom house.
“Unfortunately we cannot expect anything better from the Conservatives. This year the Conservative controlled interim council reduced the council tax empty homes and second homes so we can expect more homes to be left empty. If the Council had not given that tax rebate the income raised could have employed local builders to build more homes. Homes for local people.
Nationally the Conservative are no better. This week Caroline Spelman wrote to councils asking them to delay decisions on housing programmes until after the general election.
“Liberal Democrats, on the other hand, are known for practical and innovative solutions. The new Shropshire Council has adopted the policies developed by Liberal Democrats in South Shropshire that will enable individual affordable houses, or small pockets of affordable houses to be built where there is a local need and suitable land available. These policies are now approved by the Local Government Association as best practice.”
For more information contact:
Dr Charles West
Parliamentary Candidate: Shrewsbury and Atcham Liberal Democrats
tel: 07775 800744
Note: Sarah Teather is the Liberal Democrat shadow housing minister.
Caroline Spelman is the Conservative shadow communities secretary.