When I speak to people either on the doorstep, in my regular surgeries or via email the issue of housing comes up time and time again.
I have been told stories of unacceptable levels of mould, leaks and even evictions.
It is therefore the right decision that Lewisham council are taking back the responsibility of managing and maintaining 19,000 Lewisham properties.
As winter is approaching, I am also pleased to see the council, community groups such as Lewisham Local and other Labour-run councils taking leadership by introducing warm spaces or ‘Warm Welcomes’ for people struggling to pay their bills.
Nevertheless, Rishi Sunak’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference gave little hope that the Government would help them during the cost-of-living crisis.
The fact that Rishi Sunak barely mentioned the cost-of-living crisis speaks volumes of how he is out of touch with so many people.
His speech was insulting considering the Conservatives reckless actions including Liz Truss’ mini-budget, which saw UK borrowing costs and interest rates increase dramatically alongside very high inflation.
As a result, nearly 10,000 people are paying over £4,000 this year on their mortgages in Lewisham East.
This has made buying a house, paying a mortgage, and paying rent so much harder for struggling families during a cost-of-living crisis.
This mismanagement and chronic short-termism can also be seen in how the Government have failed to act on the cladding crisis.
For instance, Government legislation has not yet looked at proper protections for leaseholders living in buildings under 11m from paying high costs for remediation work.
This is not fair considering how high inflation has made the prices of everyday goods skyrocket.
I will soon be questioning the Housing Minister in the Commons Chamber on this.
Moreover, I have long supported calls for better protections for tenants, including a ban to prevent renters from being uprooted with little notice and justification.
The Renters (Reform) Bill should have been the chance to enact change for renters.
Yet many proposals have been left out including setting a minimum standard on the condition of homes. I would also like to see a four-month notice period instead of the proposed two.
Furthermore, the Bill has barely progressed through Parliament since it was introduced in May. It shows the Government are still not acting with the urgency required.
Only with a Labour Government can we begin to turn things around. Labour’s Renters’ Charter will take real action to make renting fairer, more secure and more affordable.
If the Government does not tackle the housing crisis or the cost-of-living crisis then only Labour will.
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