Dawn's contribution to the Housing Debate 10 June 2015
In my constituency, we have seen a reduction in the number of people on the housing waiting list but not in the number of people with housing problems, because the Government have changed the rules. Those people on zero-hours contracts are finding it increasingly difficult to pay the increased rents in my constituency. How can we challenge the Government on this point?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise this point. Over the past five years, we have seen a doubling of the number of people in work having to resort to claiming housing benefit to pay their rent. This is simply unacceptable, but again the Government have been complacent about the challenge. This is not just about people struggling to pay their rent; it is about value for money for the taxpayer.
For the first time on record, the rate of homeownership has fallen even below the EU average—so much for the Conservative party being the party of homeownership. In truth, in many parts of the country, wages have not kept up with soaring house prices. The average home now costs 10 times the average salary, and in some parts of the country the ratio is much higher.
Is the Secretary of State aware that in 1997 Labour inherited £19 million of outstanding repairs to social housing, and that that contributed to our not building the houses while we were fixing the leaking roofs?
Greg Clark - Secretary State forcommunities and Local Government:
It is right to make sure that all homes, including social homes, are in a good state. I served as a trustee of a housing association and we worked very hard to do that. No one is going to gainsay the importance of having decent homes.
On housing need, the household benefit cap has affected my constituency of Brent Central more than the whole of Wales put together. It affects 2,252 households and 4,646 children, and the Government’s proposals will just exacerbate that problem.