8th July 2015
Solace statement on the Emergency Budget: Martin Swales, Solace Spokesperson on Economic Prosperity and Housing
On Wednesday 8 July 2015 the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered the 2015 Emergency Budget, following the General Election in May. This is a statement from Martin Swales, Solace Spokesperson on Economic Prosperity and Housing and Chief Executive of South Tyneside Council, in response.
“The Chancellor has made proposals to raise rents on council tenants earning over £30,000, or £40,000 in London, to pay up to the ‘market rates’. This policy, expected to affect 340,000 households nationally, could incentivise tenants to take up to the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme (which is already to be extended by the Government to around 1.3m housing association homes in England). In turn, however, could exacerbate the current housing challenges nationally – resulting in further reductions in numbers of social housing available to potential tenants – currently 1.8m households sit on social housing waiting lists. As a result, Solace would, therefore, welcome the opportunity to open positive dialogue with the Government, so that together we can do more to increase social housing supply.
“Housing is a key priority for Solace, alongside Devolution, the two of which are inextricably linked. Good quality housing is essential to thriving economies and sustainable communities; it can be a springboard to better lives and it is vital that all areas have a range of homes to rent and buy. To solve the housing shortage, we need to build around 250,000 homes per year – twice the amount the UK is currently building. We can only achieve this through a strong local authority leadership role in delivery.
“The Chancellor’s commitment to a Northern Powerhouse indicates an important new policy direction from the Chancellor and treasury and we should fully embrace the opportunities it presents. It is vital that local government, together with private sector partners, is able to continue to build momentum in business and property investment markets to encourage balanced growth across the UK. That is why the future funding to support regional strategies, through Combined Authorities and LEPs, will be key to the next 5 years.”