The Mid Beds MP writes her monthly column for the Times & Citizen, the Biggleswade Chronicle, and our sister websites
There is a serious problem with housing in Bedfordshire and all over the UK. Young people up and down the country, and my own constituents, are running into serious issues with housing due to a lack of development and funding.
There is no way the average young person and first time buyer can afford the price of a house today. There is a serious need for new houses to be built and serious reasons and rewards for building houses, not just in an economic sense but also for social reasons.
People attempting to find affordable housing are often offered to enter into shared equity schemes. Shared equity schemes can be helpful to a potential homeowner if, for instance, they have a steady, regular and guaranteed income. In these circumstances, shared equity schemes can work well to get a young person onto the property ladder.
However, for those not on a guaranteed income, shared equity can often lead to the person becoming trapped in a scheme they cannot escape as the conditions they have agreed to are too rigid for their situation.
On top of this there is a definite natural resistance to housing association homes by existing homeowners, due to the stigma that surrounds such schemes; location is just another issue to add to a long list of problems surrounding our housing problem.
Building homes is absolutely necessary to revitalise our economy and stabilise house prices. House prices are high due to a lack of houses but developers are holding land because of the lack of financial incentives to build. Plans such as the Homes Bonus are not providing the necessary stimulus for developers in order for them to create homes.
My constituency needs more affordable housing. Surgeries full of people with housing issues are a regular occurrence, and no one seems to be listening to what they’re really saying. There is a simple lack of understanding for people facing real housing issues.
People are facing being removed from their homes through under-occupancy. This shows that the issue is being addressed from the wrong way around.
Instead of booting people out of existing homes, homes that they have lived in for years, we should be developing new, affordable housing. For this, we need new funding and investment from the Government, such funding that will not only create new homes, but also go on to stimulate the retail and infrastructure sectors. It would be a shame if our government does not build new homes and we end up with a record like Labour’s.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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