UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Affordable Homes Crisis - moving housing up the political agenda

Housing Voice - the new campaign to champion the need for more affordable homes to buy or rent in the UK - is conducting an independent inquiry into the affordable housing crisis and last Friday held a northern regional hearing in Manchester. Evidence was submitted from a wide range of experts from the private, public and not for profit sector. Mo Baines, President of Manchester UNISON served on the Inquiry Panel along with Lord Whitty, Chair of Housing Voice and David Rodgers, Chief Executive of CDS. Mo's opening comments are reprinted below: http://www.housingvoice.co.uk/

"As a public sector trade union UNISON sees many of our members struggling with housing costs. Amongst our predominantly low paid, part time workers, housing costs represent a disproportionate share of their income. Our interest in housing issues is not therefore limited to purely the provider issues surrounding social housing but the social impact of poor quality or unaffordable housing on our members. But there are of course provider issues as well.

"We are seeing increasing fragmentation of social housing providers and this lack of supply is acting as the feedstock for unacceptable high rents and poor accommodation through private landlords.

"The role of local councils in building new council homes is severely limited and whilst we could spend our time picking at the scabs of past housing policy we need to look at a new and cohesive housing policy that will meet the housing needs of the UK.

"We can rightly celebrate the money ploughed into decent homes but the lost opportunities from capital investment in new homes is a lesson we should learn. Housing should be as high on the political agenda as health and education because without decent affordable homes in which to live we can‘t expect to win the battles on fair education and health inequalities."