Rt. Hon Joan Ryan MP, Labour’s Member of Parliament for Enfield North, has raised serious concerns with how the Government’s housing proposals will allow more families in Enfield to buy affordable homes.
Speaking during a Labour-led Opposition Day Debate in Parliament, on Wednesday 10th June, on how best to address the urgent and growing housing crisis in the country, Joan Ryan called into question whether the Government’s proposed Housing Bill - which includes measures to extend the Right to Buy to Housing Association tenants - was affordable, or workable. She cited the Institute for Fiscal Studies who have said that Government plans could reduce the amount of affordable homes and social housing stock currently available.
Currently “it would take a couple with one child [in Enfield] 20 years to save up a deposit on a house, and the average private rent now consumes 46% of the average weekly wage [in the borough] - this is not affordable for people”, Joan Ryan said. Yet there was no mention of private renters in the Conservative manifesto or the Queen’s speech and, under the current Government, home ownership is at its lowest level for 30 years.
Joan Ryan and the Labour Party support people’s right to buy homes, but are calling on the Government to prioritise building more homes – including badly needed affordable homes, given that, for the first time on record, the country’s rate of homeownership has fallen below the EU average.
Rt. Hon Joan Ryan MP, Labour’s Member of Parliament for Enfield North, said:
“Conservative policies have led to a crisis in the housing market, with buying beyond reach and escalating rents for many families in Enfield.
Too many tenants are struggling with the growing cost of renting, poor standards and insecurity that is built into the rental market, yet the Conservatives don’t have anything to say on the issue.
And whilst I support Right-to-Buy, as I want as many people as possible to be able to fulfil their aspiration of buying their own home, we need policies that are workable, funded and costed. However, I am concerned that the Government’s plan to extend the Right-to-Buy scheme to housing association tenants includes no plans to replace the homes sold under the scheme and no plans to replace the homes they will force councils to sell to fund the discounted selling price.
I share concerns that the Government’s plan will lead to a deepening of the housing crisis and perhaps an even greater shortage of council and housing association homes. This will be bad news for Enfield and bad news for the country, as a whole.”
1. The Hansard report of Joan Ryan’s contributions to the debate – and the debate in full - can be found here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm150610/debtext/150610-0002.htm#15061057001598