Lancashire will get more affordable homes to help tackle the country’s housing crisis.
That is the pledge following a visit to the county by a leading Labour MP today.
Shadow Secretary of State for Housing John Healey joined the leader of Lancashire County Council Jenny Mein on a visit to Progress Housing in Leyland.
It was the venue following the launch of the first of the Labour group’s pledges ahead of May’s local elections.
Labour claims under the Tory Government, it is increasingly difficult to get on the housing ladder and that the dream of home ownership is out of reach for many.
And they say the Tories have no answer to the housing crisis.
Labour says it will pledge to build more affordable housing across Lancashire.
Mr Healey said: “I’m here to help launch the Lancashire plan for more affordable housing across the county which we’ve done this morning. We’re here at Progress to discuss that plan with Progress, who are one of the county’s leading housing associations.
“It is a plan that recognises responsibility in Lancashire. Lancashire is split between local borough councils and more importantly that people right across the county need more homes they can afford to both rent and buy.
“With this pledge and plan Lancashire Council is looking to lead the way in seeing more affordable homes both to rent and buy in the county available for local Lancashire residents and in particular it wants to use its own land to work with housing associations and others to get those homes built.
“So today is the launch. The nest step is discussions with Progress and other housing associations and then to get Government support for the new plan.”
Lancashire County Council has set up a delivery company, called Lancashire County Development Limited which will drive the plans to build new affordable homes across the county forward.
It has historically sold surplus sites to generate capital receipts for re-investment within the council.
However, it says, due to Government cut backs, councils across the country, especially Lancashire, are being forced into finding alternative ways to find money to sustain the services they provide.
It adds that is why rather than earning one off payments, Lancashire County Council under Labour control will use the sites to generate an ongoing revenue stream by building homes for local people.
Lancashire County Council Leader, Jennifer Mein says “The affordable housing supply statistics from 2015/16 are catastrophic. They show the Government have ignored the development of social rented homes, the figures are now the lowest since records began. Social rented homes across the country have fallen to 6,550 in 2016 compared to Labour’s last year in government, when 39,560 social rented homes were in use.
Lancashire County Council Leader, Jennifer Mein, said: “We will work to make sure that those families across Lancashire being exploited by rising private renting costs are the first people in the County to be given the option of living in one of the affordable rented homes which we will be developing.”
Jacqui De-Rose, Chief Executive of Progress Housing Group, said: “We are very pleased that the Shadow Housing Minister, John Healey was able to join us today to see the important work we are doing in our neighbourhoods and visit one of our latest developments of affordable housing, on the former British Legion’s club site off Haig Avenue in Leyland.
“For many years we have been working with our key local authorities and the Homes and Community Agency (HCA) to provide affordable housing for rent and shared ownership within Lancashire and beyond.
“We provide housing for people of all ages in a range of circumstances including housing for people who require support to live independently.
“We ask all political parties to support the provision of new affordable housing and to also ensure funding is in place to support people in their homes.
“We are concerned that under the current review of future funding for supported housing some services may be much harder to provide in years to come. We have
historically provided 200 homes every year and hope to continue this. To do this we will of course require the assistance of key partners and the government.”
Progress Housing Group owns and manages nearly 11,000 homes and has been delivering housing related services to communities for over 22 years.
It operates mainly in Lancashire, but offers supported living services nationwide as well as delivering key worker accommodation in Lincolnshire.