Ben Bradshaw, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Exeter:
“The Labour-run City Council’s record of and commitment to providing more affordable housing is second to none in the South West. But we also need a Labour government to address our housing crisis, which means more and more people cannot afford the high level of private rents, let alone have a hope of getting on the property ladder.”
Councillor Pete Edwards, Leader of the City Council and Leader of Exeter Labour Group:
“Affordable housing is the single biggest challenge we face in Exeter. Our strong economy, growing cultural offer and fantastic quality of life mean demand is only increasing. At the same time, low average wages and a lack of housing have created a crisis for many young people and families. Under Labour, the City Council has fought hard to deliver as much affordable housing as possible, but only a Labour government will give us the real powers we need to tackle the problem.
Labour is proud to support new homes to tackle our housing crisis, and the Labour-run City Council is working hard to improve the availability and quality of homes around the city. Since 2010/11:
- 3,505 new homes have been built in Exeter, including hundreds for affordable and social rent.
- Exeter City Council has built 41 new low energy homes, the first new Council Houses for a generation, and Labour are committed to expanding this programme, with the potential for hundreds more.
- Under Labour, the City Council has introduced a new Additional HMO Licensing Scheme and we will continue to work closely with landlords to improve standards in the private rented sector.
- Labour has supported purpose built student accommodation to reduce the burden on family housing. Exeter has seen a reduction of 267 non-purpose built Council Tax exemptions over the last four years.
- The City Council successfully bid for a quarter of a million pounds to help tackle homelessness through a new partnership project that will increase accommodation and provide new specialist support workers.
- Exeter has some of the highest rents outside London, and rents on average have increased £1,020 a year since 2010.
- Local councils need more powers to decide what kind of housing is built and where, and to force developers to build consented schemes.
- Local councils also need support from Government to crack down on poor standards and unfair rents and fees in the private rented sector.
- The Tory and Lib Dem cuts to public services have directly contributed to the growing homelessness problem in Exeter and around the country.
IN EXETER, LABOUR WILL:
- Aim for 35% social and affordable housing on all new private housing developments.
- Continue to build new low energy Council Houses on council-owned land, to provide affordable homes and reduce fuel poverty, and look for appropriate sites to expand the programme.
- Continue to explore new ways to provide affordable homes, including co- operative housing and self-build housing.
- Continue to work with landlords to improve standards in the private rented sector, following our successful introduction of the additional licensing scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupancy.
A LABOUR GOVERNMENT WILL:
- Get at least 200,000 homes built a year by 2020 (almost double the current level– by implementing the recommendations of the Lyons Review.)
- Increase competition in the housebuilding industry by backing small builders, including through our Help to Build scheme, and by getting the public sector building again.
- Unlock a Future Homes Fund by requiring that the billions of pounds saved in Helpto Buy ISAs be invested in increasing housing supply.
- Build more affordable homes by prioritising capital investment in housing and byreforming the council house financing system.
- Hand local communities new powers to get homes built where they want them.
- Introduce greater transparency in the land market and give local authorities new‘use it or lose it’ powers to encourage developers to build.
- Give councils greater powers to reduce the number of empty homes, includinghigher council tax on long term empty properties.
- Give local authorities the power to give first call to first time buyers on new homesin areas of housing growth.
- Scrap the Bedroom Tax.
- Give private renters a fairer deal by guaranteeing three year tenancies with aceiling on excessive rent rises.
- Ban rip-off letting agent fees for tenants, which could save renters over £600.
- Drive standards up by creating a national register of private landlords.
- Labour reduced homelessness by 70% when we were last in office, but all forms of homelessness are back on the rise, with rough sleeping having increased by 55%.
- We are committed to reversing this trend by tackling the causes of homelessness and rough sleeping.