We will build a million new homes in five years, with at least half a million council homes, through our public investment strategy. We will end insecurity for private renters by introducing rent controls, secure tenancies and a charter of private tenants’ rights, and increase access to affordable home ownership.
The increase in rough sleeping in Birmingham is frighteningly visible – each person made homeless is a person whose health, employment prospects and chances of being able to remain on or claim benefits have taken a significant nose dive.
Conditions in Birmingham are now being compared unfavourably with those in the 1930s, yet a further 5m cut in spending on these services as part of the budget proposals on Tuesday means a reduction of 450 bedspaces that are needed to keep highly vulnerable people safe.
The original cuts were supposed to be £10m but the halving of the figure after an outcry and demonstrations from normally reticent organizations such as Mencap has done little to decrease the likelihood of a cardboard city. In fact the presence of unattended bedding and food in doorways and covered walkways attests to the normalisation of this state of affairs.
The obscenity of the rise in homeless is amplified by the number of empty apartments in the city – second properties, empty corporate lets or just choosy landlords.
Jeremy’s programme should be publicized and strengthened to include an audit of empty properties, and powers to enforce affordable rent lettings with subsidies to landlords only based on proven need.