Andrew Smith MP has called on the Government to take action to make home ownership a realistic aspiration for working people and rents more affordable by building much needed homes.
According to independent experts, under the current Government Britain is building less than half the homes a year we need to meet demand. The gap between the number of homes we build each year and what we need is unprecedented at over 100,000 each year.
A housing shortage, combined with the cost of living crisis – with falling wages and rising bills – is making rents increasingly expensive and putting home homeownership out of reach for millions of working people. There is also a dire, and growing, shortage of affordable housing, and the current Government has pushed for dramatic rent increases in new “affordable” homes.
Back in 1997 it took an average family just three years to save for a proper deposit on a home but today it takes 22 years. Private sector rents are now at the highest level ever recorded.
Labour has plans to increase the supply of new homes in England above 200,000 a year by the end of the next Parliament. To ensure plans are in place on day one of a Labour Government, Ed Miliband has launched a Housing Commission chaired by Sir Michael Lyons has been launched to draw up a road map for delivering this ambition. Deputy Leader of Oxford City Council Ed Turner has been appointed to the Lyons Commission.
The country’s housing crisis is particularly salient in Oxford, where the Council’s ability to build is constrained by Oxford’s tightly drawn local authority boundaries. Labour’s new plans on housing will particularly benefit Oxford and allow the new homes to be built to meet the rapidly rising demand, as a “right to grow” for Oxford and places similarly hemmed in has been announced.
Andrew said: “Many people in Oxford are facing a cost of living crisis and are struggling with housing costs, with the average cost of a house approaching £400,000, and comparison between rents and wages making Oxford one of the least affordable cities outside London. By getting Britain building again a Labour Government will help tackle ever-spiralling private rents and will make home ownership an achievable dream once more for those that are currently priced out.”
“It is essential that if Labour wins the next election, it allows Oxford to expand and build the homes that local people need to live in.”
Ed Turner, Deputy Leader of Oxford City Council and Lyons Commission member said: "I am very much looking forward to being involved in this work. Resolving our housing crisis is one of the most critical issues facing our city and our country, and will be essential in tackling poverty and supporting economic growth".