Thursday, 8 March 2012

Home Sweet Home

Today the annual homelessness figures were announced and they showed that homelessness had increased by 14%, this follows on from the 23% increase in rough sleeping.

Last Tuesday, the Town Council had a presentation for a further development of Tadley acres, adding ninety odd new homes, with forty being 'affordable' twenty two were for renting and eighteen were proposed for low cost buying.

I made the point that this mix of rent and low cost buy was wrong, I suggested that with average incomes of around £17k, with homeownership at around twelve times salary and with less secure jobs this required more rented properties to allow local people to have access to a home.

Under the previous government developers could build more houses on their land, the developer actually complained the government made them overdevelop their land, this to appease residents no doubt.

So as a local Labour Councillor I argue for the maximum low cost rented properties.

Back to the homelessness figures these show the biggest increase for nearly ten years.

I reported the local sqeeze on local incomes last week.

Government changes from next month will cost families with children an average of £530 per year on top of last year's VAT rise. And as we have learned this week the Government's changes to tax credits are perverse and unfair: thousands of couples with children will next month find themselves up to £73 per week worse off and better off if they quit work.

The poorest 20% of the population are expecting to see their incomes fall by 1.5% in 2012/13 and would be lower in 2015-16 than in 2002-03.

It was, said the IFS, an "unprecedented period of no growth in average living standards since records began in 1961. Had the historical average growth rate continued over those 13 years, real median income would have grown by 22% over the period."

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: "This is a damning analysis of the choices this out of touch government has made as they raise taxes and cut spending too far and too fast.

"How can we be all in this together when the banks have got a tax cut this year, while people on low and middle incomes are being hit hard and families with children hardest of all?"

Jenny Allen, South West lead manager for the federation, said: "As unemployment is on the up and benefits are set to be slashed, private sector rents also look set to rise. To cap it all, we've also seen the first increase in homelessness. Lack of supply is at the root of the problem. Ministers need to act now to implement a range of measures to turn the tide on the current housing crisis, ensuring that homes continue to be built at scale where it is most needed, that affordable housing options remain, and that housing is properly regulated across all sectors."

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