Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Lib Dems and affordable housing

Over the last few days, Liberal Democrat councillor Alex Folkes has blogged ten times about: “What the Lib Dems have achieved in government – parts 1-10. He has also reproduced what he terms info-graphics produced by Mark Pack.

I haven’t had time to assess the veracity of all the claims, but I found myself drawn to “part 9” which focussed on housing (see below graphic).

Cllr Folkes wrote: “Across the UK housing waiting lists have been growing. Here in Cornwall, despite the claims by the council to have plans to have built new houses, the housing waiting list grew by 2000 names in just two months and now stands at more than 23,000 families.

“Since the general election, the Government has prioritised new affordable homes to rent and to buy. With the Liberal Democrats in government we have seen more than 150,000 affordable homes built across the UK. At the same time as Cornwall Council's commitment to affordable housing seems to be slipping, the government is turning up the heat.”

But the graphic clearly states that: “150,000 new affordable homes are being built over the next four years, the first increase in social housing supply for over thirty years.”

It seems that Cllr Folkes’ spin is in overdrive … have the houses been built or are they to be built?

Could I remind Cllr Folkes that it is the Conservative / Liberal Democrat Coalition Government that, amongst other things, has:

(i) massively slashed investment in affordable housing.

(ii) replaced the social rent model with a new “affordable rent” model that sets rents at 80% of the inflated cost of private sector rents, increasing the cost of housing to the less-well-off.

(iii) reinvigorated the ‘right-to-buy’ of council houses with increased discounts to tenants.

(iv) made regressive changes to housing benefit arrangements for single people.

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