Fair housing for all at the heart of Labour pledges

More affordable homes and a registration scheme for private landlords would feature under a Labour council in Croydon, as outlined here by Councillor ALISON BUTLER

Council-houses-in-Croydon-007Housing will be at the very heart of policies for an incoming Labour council. Sadly, we have witnessed the failure of Tory housing policy both locally and nationally and the suffering this has caused to local families and people. Even the departed chief executive, Jon Rouse, declared that the borough has a housing crisis, which once again put Croydon in the national spot-light for all the wrong reasons.

Labour will have a fair housing policy for all of Croydon. The need for a secure and decent home, whether you are an owner-occupier, a council or social housing tenant, in shared ownership or a private tenant, is vital. It affects your life chances and can have a negative effect on your education, health and job opportunities.

If we are to be the borough where big business invests and smaller businesses are actively encouraged to start and grow, then we must have homes for different needs. That is not happening at the moment.

Too many of the new homes being built are for foreign investors and simply out of reach for those on the average Croydon wages. The situation just gets worse for our daughters and sons.

Labour is committed to building mixed, sustainable communities, working alongside social housing providers and housing developers to ensure not only a decent mix of housing but the infrastructure that goes with it. We will make sure that every major new development will have a fair share of homes that current Croydon residents can afford to rent or buy. Labour will also provide new council houses and look to replace the worst of our stock with new, vibrant places to live, with tenancies guaranteed for existing residents.

A Labour council will recognise that private rented accommodation will have a vital part to play in housing in the borough. But whereas we have some excellent landlords, there is also a minority that rents out accommodation that is not fit for purpose. These landlords fail to manage their properties, leaving the council to pick up the tab. This causes not only distress to their tenants but often affects the lives of other families in the street.

Landlords and letting agents need a proper registration scheme and to be accountable for their properties. The best landlords can only benefit from this.

The choices we make in housing policy are not just about putting a roof over someone’s head. Homes are the foundation of our neighbourhoods and communities, they are about giving our children the best start in life. Labour’s plan for Croydon is to see individuals and families proud to live in Croydon in a decent home at a price they can afford, whether they rent or buy.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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3 Responses to Fair housing for all at the heart of Labour pledges

  1. The problem here is credibility.

    Nationally, the Labour Party is a policy-free zone. Ed Miliband is seen as too weak to make an impression and too dominated by the archly tribal and politically unattractive Ed Balls.

    Both men were influential members of the Gordon Brown government that left Britain in the economic mess in which we still find ourselves.

    Locally, the situation is similar. Ms Butler makes grandiose promises about council housing – something her party studiously ignored during 13 years in government.

    While she does so, Croydon Tories distribute a glossy booklet gleefully reminding every household how profligate Croydon Labour Party was when last in power.

    As the election draws closer, no doubt the Tories will remind voters that the man leading Labour into the 2014 election is the same one who led the council when it sold the multi-storey car parks in the town centre.

    I believe strongly that the borough deserves better than the out-of-touch bunch of asset-stripping Philistines who run it at the moment.

    But can the Labour Party be a plausible alternative?

  2. At last the beginning of Labour beginning to present positive policies in advance of the local elections. Readers wanting to know more about the housing situation and the current Council approach to the problems can see various postings on my blog starting in June, especially the answers to several Freedom of Information requests I made in July, particularly those on the private rented sectors: http://historyandsocialaction.blogspot.com. My 20 June posting on what should be in the Labour manifesto can be seen at http://historyandsocialaction.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/what-should-be-in-croydon-labours-2014.html.

  3. bobhewlett says:

    A very good article by Alison Butler. Alison has not only pointed out the future Labour Council’s policy on housing but has also aired its commitment to new council house building. Many people in the borough, like me, grew up in a council house within the borough. I grew up in New Addington and live on the then new Fieldway Estate. Coming from a central London basement flat and then to a house with a bathroom/toilet, downstairs toilet, central heating, front and back garden, woods to play in was an eye opener. Today the new private houses have more in common with “little boxes” as sung by Tom Paxton then the houses fit for heroes as determined by the Labour Government in 1945-51 and the policy being adopted and pursued by successive Tory and Labour Governments until the mad bat in 1979.
    I agree with Sean that the beginning of positive polices in advance of the local elections by the future Labour Council, I think, will be welcomed by the local electorate.
    As for David Callam’s post…same old, same old.

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