It has been clear for some time that there is a divergence between what Jeremy Corbyn said about housing and local estate regeneration at the national Labour Party Conference and what actually is happening in London councils controlled by Labour. Clearly national policy change is also required but councils do have some room for action and the ability to put pressure on the government through the LGA and other bodies.
At the weekend two detailed motions on housing were passed overwhelmingly at the London Labour Party Regional Conference which should cause some rethinking of Brent Council policy. Whether it will or not is of course a matter for the rank and file members of the Brent Labour Party and the attitude of theLabour Group on the council.
freeze to local housing allowances (LHA) which is making London increasingly
unaffordable to people on low incomes. Shelter’s research shows that the LHA
rates have already fallen behind actual rents in nearly 70% of England, meaning
families are chasing an ever smaller number of properties at the bottom of the
market covered by housing benefit, or are having to make up the difference by
cutting back on essential spending elsewhere. The freeze will simply exacerbate
model suggests that after two years nearly all of the country will be
unaffordable and the bottom third of the market will be affordable in just 20
defines an area as very unaffordable to benefit claimants when LHA rates fall
below the 10th percentile. Their research shows that by 2019 60
local authorities will be very unaffordable, including most of London and large
parts of the Home Counties, as well as towns like Reading.
supports the following actions in the Private Rented Sector:
· Introduce controls on future rent increases,
extending or a ‘system of rent caps’ to limit rent increases and ensure
· Increase security through longer term
tenancies and strengthening tenants’ rights not to be automatically evicted.
· Improve standards through measures that
include borough-wide licensing schemes, landlord accreditation and guaranteed
minimum standards for private tenants.
· Councils could be encouraged to introduce
voluntary Rent Stabilisation Schemes, such as Camden Council’s scheme, to
control rents and make them more affordable.
· Improve industry practices through a ban on
letting agents’ fees and consider the creation of council run letting agencies
to promote best practice.
· London Labour Conference will work and
campaign with our Branches, forums, Affiliates, MPs, Assembly members and
Councillors to achieve these aims.
London Labour Party Conference demands access to decent housing as a human
right and believes that the housing needs and aspirations of Londoners should
have priority over a market approach.
welcomes the overwhelming support for Composite 5 at our Party’s National
Conference. We also note the bold and unequivocal statements by our Party
Leader on estate regeneration where he made two clear points:
· …people who live on an estate that is
redeveloped must get a home on the same site and on the same terms as before
· …councils will have to win a ballot of
existing tenants and leaseholders before any redevelopment scheme can take
conference supports full binding – ballot rights for estate residents in future
regeneration projects in London and calls for current regeneration schemes to
be stayed until councils have held ballots of all those affected.
notes Shelter’s investigation, released on 28th September 2017,
where it raised concerns that Housing developers are using viability
assessments to build fewer social/council homes that they had initially
calls upon the Mayor of London, the Greater London Authority and Labour
controlled borough councils in London to maintain the existing stock of council
and Housing Association housing and to work to increase it by:
· Retaining full ownership and control of
available public land
· Increasing publicly led and controlled
investment in new and existing Council and other commonly owned housing,
including housing bonds alongside other direct investment.
· Directly delivering construction and
maintenance services and to commit to a training scheme for direct labour to
build and maintain council housing with guaranteed jobs within the council
workforce upon successful completion.
· We need high quality council and Housing
Association housing with secure lifetime tenancies and genuinely affordable
rent (i.e. council target rents or Mayor of London living rent). All future
developments should ensure levels of accessibility, adaptable and lifetime
homes for disabled people that are all based on a clearly evidenced
understanding of disabled people’s needs in each London Housing authority.
· Exploring and promoting, where appropriate,
the use and development of 100% council-owned development vehicles to build and
provide at council (target) rents.
· Supporting communities by requiring at least
1:1 advance replacement, within the same neighbourhood of council homes sold or
demolished under regeneration schemes, with a minimum of 50% of any additional
housing for council rents.
· Ceasing and prevent the transfer of land to
either private developers or joint venture development vehicles which cede an
ownership and /or control to property developers
· Ensure complete transparency of viability
assessments – the Government’s planning guidance should make clear that
viability assessments will be considered public documents.
· The Mayor of London, in his London Plan,
London Boroughs, in their local planning polices, should include residents’
consultation, and any subsequent Ballot Process in new regeneration of
Council/Housing Association stock. Residents should be given full financial
information on all possible options at the “appraisal” stage, not just those
assessed as “viable”.
· Promoting Co-operative housing managed by
residents; development of new co-operative and mutually owned housing where
supported by local communities.
· Campaigning for a Land Value Tax for vacant
or underutilised land and seeking to end the “Right to Buy”.
further call on the Mayor of London, the GLA and councils to ensure that
brownfield land, including that owned by TfL, is made available to councils for
council housing development and is not sold or transferred to private
· Urges CLPs to campaign on estates around the
capital explaining Labour Policy to support tenants’ rights when confronted
with regeneration and calls on the London Labour Party to support such
campaigns through any practical means.
· Calls for all Labour Councillors to support
and campaign around our Party’s policy on estate regeneration.
· Demands the policies outlined above be
prioritised in Labour’s Manifesto for London and Borough Manifestos for the
2018 Council Elections.