Peter Kyle: Council is pioneering in its bid to address housing shortage

Peter Kyle, the Labour MP for Hove
Peter Kyle, the Labour MP for Hove

There is an acute housing problem in Brighton and Hove. Outside of London, we live in one of the least affordable cities in the UK, and average rent in our city is a staggering £1,125 per month.

Furthermore, there are currently more than 21,000 households on the local social housing list, and there are now an estimated 4,095 people sleeping rough or in emergency or temporary accommodation in Brighton and Hove.

This is a problem which has worsened significantly over the last seven years since the Conservatives took power, and Theresa May has admitted that her Party’s failure on housing was a big part of why the Tories did so badly in the recent General Election.

Nationally, home ownership is at a 30-year low. Last year, the government built the fewest affordable homes for 24 years, and government funding for affordable homes has been cut by 60 per cent. Homelessness fell by almost two thirds under Labour, but has doubled with Conservative Ministers in charge.

Clearly, the Tories have no plan to solve the UK’s chronic housing shortage, or to fix the broken housing market. The Prime Minister’s recent announcement to deliver 5,000 houses a year goes nowhere near far enough, and would equate to only around a dozen new homes in Brighton and Hove.

But in Brighton and Hove, our local council and housing association Hyde are investing in ambitious and innovative local solutions to address these problems head-on. To build much-needed new homes, the partnership are launching the Living Wage Joint Venture project, which will deliver 1,000 affordable homes over five years.

Under the scheme, which was given final approval by councillors this week, 500 properties will be made available for rent at the cheapest rates in the city, so that people earning a living wage can afford to live there.

The other half of properties will be for shared ownership, providing an opportunity to get onto the housing ladder for people who would not normally have had this option.

I am incredibly proud that our city is truly leading and taking such pioneering steps to address the housing shortage and provide genuinely affordable homes for our residents. Where Brighton and Hove lead, Government should follow.

Peter Kyle is the Labour MP for Hove.