1 February 2015

Let me draw your attention to three measures by the Tory Libdem government – the government of all six Cornwall MPs – that damage the provision of affordable housing.

First, recently the government has decided that housing developments of ten or fewer houses do not have to either include any affordable housing or pay cash in lieu of the unbuilt houses. The figure is five for very rural sites. This will reduce the number of affordables built and councils in England are taking the government to judicial review. In Cornwall, despite the large adverse impact upon the affordable program, the response of the Libdem/Independent unitary council cabinet has been to duck below the parapet, apparently in case challenging the government impairs the claims for more local powers. See here. Devolution silences Cornwall.

Second, though of less impact in Cornwall, the Tory Libdem government recently decided that the developers of large empty properties no longer have to pay a levy towards affordable housing. See here. The financial loss to councils and the numbers of affordable houses that can be built in London, for example,  are vast.

Third, the government promised that every social-rent affordable house sold under its revived right-to-buy policy would be matched by a new affordable house built. Grant Shapps, the then housing minister said, “Every additional home that is sold will be replaced by a new affordable home on a one-for-one basis”. In fact so far a new one has been built for every five sold, a serious depletion of the public housing stock at a time of large waiting lists. See here.

Tories and Libdems in government talk about supporting affordable housing; they pursue policies that reduce it.