Bristol Trades Union Council recognises that to tackle the current Bristol housing crisis there needs to be a comprehensive set of policies and a plan of action put in place to cover the following four areas:
- Supply of Affordable Housing
- A massive programme of new council and social housing, to provide for all workers (not just the unemployed). This includes the possibility of high quality pre-fabs to tackle the urgent nature of the crisis.
- End the “Right to Buy” in council and social housing, but provide a “Right to Buy” for private tenants at a fixed 30% discount with not featherbedding for landlords.
- Abolish the cap on Housing benefit and applied to rent.
- Council powers to take control of, or compulsory purchase, (with changes to CPO regulations for local authorities) unoccupied properties or land. This will require clear information on local land banks.
- A programme of repair and investment in existing council properties.
- The reinstatement of a Council Direct Labour Organisation to undertake new builds and Repair.
- Planners to insist on Parker – Morris spatial standards, and best practice environmental standards.
- New housing in all sectors to be appropriate for the needs of contemporary society.
- Financial Affordable Housing
- Longer, and therefore more affordable mortgages, and a ban on mortgages tied to insurance policies. This is likely to need the establishment of public sector mortgage providers, whether local authorities, or national investment bank.
- Definition of “affordable” to be based on average wages (not a percentage of market value).
- The reinstatement of Section 106 (CIL) so that a proportion of profit from the development of land sold by local authorities is returned to them to facilitate the provision of amenities in those developments.
- Use Public Sector pension schemes to invest in social housing.
- Tenants Rights
- Rent controls that relate to earnings, not scarcity og housing.
- Encourage tenants’ democracy and self-organisation in both the private and public sectors.
- Registration and licensing of private landlords, along with practical measures to speed up prosecutions for non-compliance and other offences.
- Secure tenancies in all sectors, and fighting unfair evictions.
- State benefits to be paid to tenants, not landlords, unless the tenant choses to do so.
- Action on Homelessness
- Encourage and support homeless self-organisations
- Support and defend squatters.
- Urgent increase in Hostel and other accommodation in Bristol
- Support for Working Homeless by providing out of office benefit payments
- A Bristol “Tenancy Sustainment Service” to prevent vulnerable people falling into homelessness.
- Reform Housing Benefit and provide local welfare support.
In the Morning Star, Monday 11th June 2018, there is a feature by Martin Wicks which is a critique of the Labour Party’s Green Paper on Housing.
The article concludes –
“Labour needs to be told in the consultation that its primary housing priority should be a large scale council house building programme”
Martin Wicks is Secretary of Swindon Tenants Campaign Group.
A link to the Labour Party Green Paper, Housing for the Many, can be found here https://labour.org.uk/issues/housing-for-the-many/
Comments/Suggestions can be made to – firstname.lastname@example.org
Will Bristol Trades Union Council be making a submission?