Opinion: Cost of buying and renting is major concern

PUBLISHED: 08:00 12 November 2017

The Conservative Party candidates for Havering. Julia Dockerill ( Hornchurch and Upminster )

The Conservative Party candidates for Havering. Julia Dockerill ( Hornchurch and Upminster )


The Queen’s Speech; the Autumn Statement; and the Budget each spring – these used to be the big three dates in the parliamentary calendar until Chancellor Philip Hammond rejigged things last year.

Now, the latter two events have been boiled down into an Autumn Budget, and Conservative MPs have been busily feeding ideas into the ministerial teams in the hope that we can secure funding for our own local priorities this November. It is no surprise that housing has been one of the most pressing themes.

The sheer cost of buying and renting in Havering is now a major concern not just to young workers and families struggling to get onto the ladder, but to their parents and grandparents who write to me with worry.

I have been working with Havering Council to see what we might do to ease the pressure.

A week or two ago, I joined Cllr Roger Ramsey on a tour of some of the new housing developments being led by the council in Cranham, Hornchurch and Harold Hill.

Council-led development is seeing new, lifetime homes being built on in-fill and vacant sites or replacing old garages or poor quality housing.

The tenure is varied, from social-rented council homes to shared-ownership and private houses, and the standard of the properties high.

The council believes that if the borrowing cap was lifted on local authorities, and if a greater proportion of Right to Buy receipts could be reinvested into new properties, they could contract the delivery of many more homes for local people and carry out an ambitious estate regeneration programme. I have been making this case directly to the Chancellor and Communities Secretary, and pushing also for help to ease short-term challenges such as the cost of private rental deposits and the delivery of the laudable new Homelessness Reduction Act.

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