The independent London newspaper

We shouldn’t be fobbed off with ‘affordable’ housing

08 February, 2019

• IN London there is a target to build an average of 17,000 affordable homes a year. Sixty per cent of the affordable housing provision is for social and affordable rent and 40 per cent for intermediate rent or sale. Sadly, these are not set at council home rents and terms; the rents will be set at around 80 per cent of the market rent value in new builds.

I obtained some figures from an estate agent in Islington, who informed me the average rent in the private sector for a three- bed flat would be £3,048 per four-week period or £762 a week. With a generous 20 per cent discount, new-build affordable housing for a four-week period would cost £2,438 or £609 weekly.

These rents are not for working class people. With a London living wage of £10.55 an hour they would be far out of reach. Even with this generous discount many middle-class, highly-skilled professionals would struggle to pay the rent.

We should not be fobbed off with affordable housing. Up and down the UK there need to be five million genuine council homes built at the rate of 200,000 a year and empty properties seized and renovated, all done on a central government budget.

Some would say: how can we afford this? It was done from 1945 to 1979. The existing council housing has been paid off 13 times over, so it has not cost anything to provide council homes. It’s a total fallacy to say that council housing is subsidised.

There need to be rent controls and fairer tenancy agreements in the private sector. There should be a law stating one family, one home. Housing associations need to go back to being genuine social housing providers. If we do not do this, millions of people will be sleeping on river banks in 10 years and the middle classes will be priced out too.



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