The Housing and Planning Bill received its second reading in the House of Lords on Tuesday 26th Jan. At a meeting of the Full Council, Tower Hamlets Labour Group successfully proposed a motion highlighting the disastrous consequences of the Bill.
The Labour Group’s motion, speaking out against the Tory Housing Bill, calls on the Mayor to give full consideration to finding meaningful, genuinely affordable housing solutions for Tower Hamlets.
The motion, proposed by Cllr Rachel Blake and seconded by Cllr Sirajul Islam was passed by the Full Council, with the Conservative Group voting against.
Mayor John Biggs said: “The Tory Housing Bill will lead to a huge loss of affordable homes, which will only exacerbate the spiral of ever higher housing costs.
“As Executive Mayor, I have submitted evidence to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee and established a Housing Affordability Commission here at the Town Hall, to investigate the delivery of actual affordable housing in Tower Hamlets.
“One of the aims of my Commission is to determine what rent levels are affordable and to try to find a way to apply these to future housing developments and it will also consider current models for low cost Home Ownership.
“The Commission will consider the impact of the proposals in the Housing Bill on affordability in the borough, particularly the Starter Homes initiatives and Pay to Stay for high income social tenants.”
Councillor Rachel Blake, Cabinet Member for Strategic Development, said: “This Conservative Bill will force councils to sell off affordable council homes to pay for the right-to-buy extension. This could lead to thousands of homes being sold. This will deprive areas, including Tower Hamlets, of much-needed affordable housing, and councils will be robbed of the ability to cater for housing need. Further, our mixed communities will be destroyed when tenants are forced to leave their homes, unable to pay market rates as demanded by the Tories.
“Shelter has calculated that nearly 113,000 council homes could be sold off across England – this is simply unacceptable and the Labour Group is fully against these proposals.”
Councillor Sirajul Islam, Statutory Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing Management, said: “London Households earning over £40,000 will be forced to either pay market rent, use right to buy or move out. The Tory Bill is grossly unfair and will have a thoroughly negative impact on our borough. We must all stand up against this disastrous Bill.”