Hartlepool’s leaders back campaign for better housing

Councillor Robbie Payne at Seaton Carew.
Councillor Robbie Payne at Seaton Carew.

A CAMPAIGN to save and extend social rented housing has won the backing of councillors in Hartlepool.

They have pledged their support for SHOUT (Social Housing Under Threat), a cross-party national campaign that aims to ensure a genuinely affordable, flourishing and fair social housing sector in the UK.

Hartlepool Borough Council says the campaign is particularly relevant to the town where large sections of the community are on lower incomes.

Councillor Robbie Payne, chairman of the council’s Regeneration Services Committee, said: “Clearly, there is a need to reverse a decline in social housing provision which has come about over a number of years due to a variety of factors, including the failure to replace homes sold under Right to Buy legislation.

“We agree with SHOUT that it is time to say enough is enough if we are to have a genuinely affordable, flourishing and fair social housing sector.”

The SHOUT campaign’s demands include:

l The building of 100,000 new social rented homes each year as part of delivering the 200,000 or more new homes required by the country.

l The removal or easing of current restrictions on council borrowing for housing to enable the building programme to be funded.

l A significantly larger social housing grant programme and a robust regime for private developer contributions.

l The replacement on a like-for-like basis where there is a need of all social rented homes lost through Right to Buy, voluntary sales and conversions to “affordable rent”.

l The setting of targets by the Government for surplus public land to be made available for social rented housing.

l The proper regulation of social rented housing to encourage high-quality management with tenants involved to the degree they choose.

Councillor Payne added: “We believe it is vitally important to ensure there is an adequate supply of good quality housing available to people at prices that they can afford, and that is why we wholeheartedly support the principles of the SHOUT campaign.”