Shadow Housing Minister visits South Kilburn to reveal Labour’s plans for affordable homes
PUBLISHED: 19:35 13 January 2014 | UPDATED: 13:37 14 January 2014
The Shadow Housing Minister has outlined Labour’s vision for housing in Brent and nationally during her visit to South Kilburn regeneration project site today.
The Shadow Housing Minister has outlined Labour’s vision for housing in Brent and nationally during a visit to South Kilburn today.
Emma Reynolds, MP for Wolverhampton North East, met Tulip Siddiq, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, to discuss how the opposition’s policies would affect residents.
Speaking exclusively to the Times, Ms Reynolds, who once lived in Kilburn, said a panel of housing experts have been drafted in to help meet the party’s ambitious aim to build more than 200,000 social and affordable homes a year.
She said: “We have put housing at the centre of our agenda.
“We know there are young people and families across the country who are struggling to get on the housing ladder and struggling to pay their rent, especially here in Kilburn.
Ms Reynold accused the coalition government’s budget cuts of driving up the cost of renting affordable properties.
“What happened when this government got into power is that they cut the affordable homes budget by 60 per cent which essentially meant that housing associations were having to get a reduce number of grants and charging higher rents than before in order to be able to build the home,” she said.
Ms Reynolds, who has been MP for Wolverhampton East since 2010, said the left wing party aims to increase the supply of social and affordable homes but fell short of making any promises.
“We are 18 month away from the election so I am not going to make any promise as yet but we are looking at to enable local authorities and housing associations like catalyst to build more homes for social and affordable rents,” she said.
The Oxford University graduate also pledged to drive towards is a more diverse building industry which allows smaller developers to compete with housing juggernauts and providing the space for more custom builds.
Proposed policy is also aimed to tackle the staggering 20,000 waiting for social housing people in Brent - according to Shelter housing charity figures.
Numbers revealed by the Department for Work and Pensions, showed that more than 1,200 households in Brent have seen their state benefits slashed since handouts were capped at £500 a week.
“It doesn’t make sense to use the same cap in London and the rest of the country because rent is much higher here,” Ms Reynolds said, adding the “one size fits all” policy penalises one set of people and not the other.
The Labour MP also outlined plans to make developers register land they own or have an interest in to combat developers who wait for the value to increase before construction which affects the supply of land.
The South Kilburn regeneration project is being carried out by housing authority Catalyst which aims to deliver 1000 homes in the local area as part of the scheme.
Commenting on the new scheme, Ms Reynolds said: “I’m really impressed with what Brent is doing here. It is a really ambitious scheme.
“I hope to come back in a few years time to see the finished product.”