OPINION

A pledge to build more homes in Brighton and Hove

Posted On 16 Feb 2019 at 12:10 am

One hundred years ago, 80 per cent of the British rented their homes, almost all from private landlords.

Standards were poor until the 1919 Housing Act provided subsidies for local authorities to build the first real council houses.

Housebuilding peaked at 350,000 a year in the 1930s but soon levelled off around the 200,000 mark.

The 1970s were characterised by political turmoil and a boom-and-bust economy: both Labour and Conservative governments neglected housing.

Something had to be done and, coming as much from the need to invest in housing as political philosophy, the large flow of private investment coming from the new owners of former council houses increased the overall quality of housing across the UK.

From the 1980s until recent years, again under both Labour and Conservative governments, around 140,000 houses a year were built.

With an increase of several million in the UK population during the first years of the 21st century, a shortage followed naturally.

The consensus now is that a return to average housebuilding of around 200,000 a year should return stability to the market.

The Conservatives nationally are determined to build the homes that people want to live in and in the recent budget the Chancellor showed this commitment by launching a five-year £44 billon, housing programme designed to deliver the biggest increase in housing supply since the 1970s.

Local Conservatives also have an excellent track record on housing issues, holding both the Greens and Labour to account for their woeful neglect of housing over the past few years.

We know that building the homes that local people want to live in will be the main driver that enables Brighton and Hove to be a city of expanding opportunities for everybody.

Following the local election in May, Conservatives will begin the process of listening to residents, engaging with our neighbourhoods and then moving rapidly to building housing that is fit for purpose.

This level of housebuilding will not be provided by an ideologically driven Labour Party but by local Conservatives, working with a determined Conservative government.

Only the Conservatives can solve our local housing crisis.

Councillor Tony Janio is the leader of the opposition Conservative group on Brighton and Hove City Council.

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