The housing crisis across our City Region grows deeper every day. Changes to the benefits and tax credit system were supposed to make things fairer. But many households in our region have been negatively affected by changes to local housing allowances, housing benefits, child benefits and the bedroom tax.
Disabled people, single parents and families, particularly ethnic minority families, are being driven out of their homes, often with no place to go. Women are hit particularly hard as they are more likely to receive benefits, more likely to have caring responsibilities and less likely to have access to well paid jobs. And some of them are stuck in abusive relationships because they cannot afford to flee.
There is no silver bullet for a housing crisis on this scale and we need to work together, across party lines to design and implement a sustainable housing strategy.
Let’s put people at the heart of design – let’s build homes, not just houses.
Use the devolved strategic housing and planning powers to build a comprehensive solution to the housing crisis, understanding that the problem is too big for old-fashioned party politics.
Develop a new design standard that puts people at the heart and increase the role of architects and users in planning solutions to create better environments for everybody.
Ensure councils ring-fence housing for women fleeing violence – including a sufficient supply of accessible refuge spaces.
Make use of Section 106 in planning applications to provide services to local communities, including childcare facilities and refuges.
Use compulsory purchase powers to increase the stock of affordable housing, including smaller housing, to ensure residents are not punished by benefit cuts.
Make sure that housing development is balanced across the region so that all areas benefit from growth.
Provide affordable childcare so that market-based solutions to housing do not price out women.
Lobby the government to fund supported housing properly, making sure all of us can live independent lives.