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‘Council homes are so much more than bricks and mortar’: Southwark council leads 10 year plan for England’s social housing

A 10-year plan to boost England’s social housing has been published, spearheaded by Southwark council.

The report, called “Securing the future of council housing”, features a five-point plan and has been developed by 20 of the largest local authorities in England including Lambeth and Lewisham. 

Kieron Williams, Southwark council leader, said their proposal would “secure England’s council homes for generations to come”.

The five solutions proposed in the interim report are to establish a new and fair sustainable Housing Revenue Accounts (HRA) model, reform unsustainable right to buy policies, remove red tape on the affordable homes programme, announce a Green and decent homes programme and fund the completion of new council homes.

The plan comes as the new Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, announces mandatory housing targets “to get Britain building again”, including plans to build 1.5million homes over the next five years.

Mr Williams said: “We are releasing this interim report now because we want to work with the new Government from day one to deliver the more and better council homes that our communities need. 

“With a growing number of council landlords on the brink, urgent action is needed to put our national council housing finances back on firm foundations.

“Council homes are so much more than bricks and mortar. They are a cornerstone of better health, education, economic growth and environment.”

The other councils involved in the paper are Birmingham, Bristol, Camden, Dudley, Greenwich, Hackney, Hull, Islington, Kirklees, Lambeth, Leeds, Leicester, Lewisham, Newcastle, Nottingham, Rotherham, Sandwell, Sheffield and Wolverhampton.

Lewisham Councillor Will Cooper, Cabinet Member for Better Homes, Neighbourhoods and Homelessness, said: “It’s a crucial time for housing in Lewisham and across the country. Making sure that everyone has a safe place to call home is a priority for us.

“Social housing is an integral part of making that a reality, but many years of underfunding have led us to a crisis point.

“Huge and rising costs in providing temporary accommodation, an aging stock, new regulatory requirements, and the cumulative loss of homes through Right to Buy all mean than providing the council homes our communities need is becoming a more unreachable goal by the day.”

This comes as more than 1.2million households in England are currently on the housing waiting list – 323,000 of which are in London – according to new research by  Mobile Annexe LTD.

Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark are in the top 10 local authorities in the capital with the highest number of people on their waiting lists, according to the research.

Full report can be found here: Securing the Future of Council Housing – Interim Report

Pictured top: Southwark Council hq on Tooley Street (Picture: Google Street View)


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