Home news Budget is a huge missed chance to ease the pressure

Budget is a huge missed chance to ease the pressure


Weekend.Andy Winter Brighton Housing Trust Chief Exec..Contact 01273 645400 x546.

THE Chancellor has failed this and future generations in their quest to find somewhere to call home.

That is the verdict of Wednesday’s budget from Andy Winter, chief executive of Brighton Housing Trust.

Writing in The Argus he said Philip Hammond had missed a great opportunity to do the right thing to tackle the housing crisis.

He said: “His obsession with home ownership has done nothing to increase supply and will achieve little other than to further fuel house price inflation. In this he has failed this and future generations who just want somewhere decent to live, of any tenure, a place to call home.

“He failed to end the economically illiterate Right to Buy of council homes which has seen the privatisation of public assets, at a huge cost to the public purse. Forty per cent of the homes sold through Right to Buy reappear in the private rented sector charging rents four or five times higher than the previous social rents. Chancellor Hammond is persisting with this discredited policy.”

Mr Winter, who works with the homeless in Brighton and Hove, welcomed the Chancellor’s commitment to end rough sleeping by 2027. But he added: “He failed to say how this will be achieved. The sum total of all his housing announcements will do little, if anything, to actually end rough sleeping. In fact, it could make matters worse.

“But why should Philip Hammond worry? 2027 is a long way away and he will be long gone by then. But it is more than a lifetime away for those people sleeping on our streets.”

Mr Winter also took aim at the Conservative Chancellor’s welfare reforms. However, he welcomed the removal of the seven day wait to claim Universal Credit.

He said: “Welfare reform is forcing people to use food banks and rent arrears are spiralling out of control. There have been warnings about Universal Credit from all quarters, including Conservative Members of Parliament and even the former Prime Minister, John Major. Philip Hammond has announced some tiny concessions.”

He added: “He failed to announce any increase in the level of Local Housing Allowance, the help people can receive towards housing costs.

“The ongoing freeze has resulted in the majority of privately rented homes becoming well beyond the means of ordinary people in areas like Brighton and Hove.

“Eight out of ten private landlords are saying that they won’t house people on Universal Credit. The Chancellor said nothing to reassure private landlords. Merely reducing the waiting time before Universal Credit payments are made, from six to four weeks will do nothing to reassure landlords.”

He said Mr Hammond MP should have announced a massive investment in council house building and a complete relaxation of restrictions on borrowing by local authorities. He added: “Public land should be earmarked for public housing.

“He should have ended failed policies, such as the Right to Buy and Universal Credit, but instead he muddles on, unmoved by the obvious hardship caused by these disastrous policies.”

l What do you think of Mr Hammond’s Budget? Write to letters@theargus.co.uk.

Source: The Argus