I am extremely disappointed with one of the headline decisions in yesterdays autumn statement, that of the introduction of carpet bagging agents to severely reduce the amount of social housing stock available to local government.
Here in Northumberland we have a major housing crisis that we are beginning to tackle through a very aggressive building program. This move by George Osbourne to support middle men and encourage the sale of social housing will lead to a further downturn in the supply of social housing in what is one of Englands areas of greatest housing need.
We have seen over the years the downturn in the quality of housing available for rent.
The surge of Right to Buy homes from the Thatcher Years have come on to the market to be snapped up at auction by absentee landlords many of whom ignore the basic standard forced onto Local Authority and Housing Associations through the decent homes act in order to maximise profits. Carpet bagging to loosen more homes from the protection of good quality social landlords will simply repeat history until Decent Homes is forced onto all landlords.
This Government should have chosen to assist the purchase of privately developed homes from our major spec builders with a good quality long term low repayment scheme. This would have kickstarted the economy at a much faster rate than predicted and allowed a greater number of young people to train in the much needed building crafts that would support local labour country-wide when we next have to reduce to a maintenance only period in the national economic cycle.