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Southwark Labour councillors march against Housing and Planning Bill

02 February 2016
Housing and Planning Bill March Southwark Labour councillors joined hundreds of campaigners on Saturday to march against the Government’s Housing and Planning Bill.

Southwark Labour councillors are opposing the Housing and Planning Bill because of the devastating impact it will have on council housing in the borough. Labour councillors passed a motion at full council objecting to the Bill, which will threaten the provision of affordable homes by forcing councils to sell ‘high-value’ council homes to pay for right-to-buy for housing association tenants, and undermining requirements on private developers to provide affordable homes.

Labour councillors have also raised concerned about plans to significantly reduce council tenancies, and the Government’s ‘pay to stay’ proposals, which could see rents for social housing tenants soar in Southwark. Under the proposals, council tenants in SE1 could see their weekly rent increase by between £200 and £600 if they earn over the ‘high income’ threshold, which could start at £40,000 for a household.

Southwark cabinet member for housing Cllr Richard Livingstone, who addressed the rally on Saturday, said: “The Housing and Planning Bill is an attack on social housing and it will have a devastating impact on council housing in our borough. The Government’s proposals undermine everything the council is doing to provide genuinely affordable homes, including our pledge to build 11,000 new council homes.”

“Southwark is at the heart of the affordable housing crisis in London, with a growing population and thousands of residents on the council’s housing waiting list. But at a time when the council is embarking on the most ambitious council house building programme in the country, these proposals could have a devastating effect on council housing in Southwark.” 

Labour councillor and MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, Helen Hayes, who also spoke at the rally, said that Labour campaigners were marching to “send a message that we care about the provision of affordable housing in our communities.” 

“We are strong communities in south London and we will hold this heartless Government to account for the consequences of this terrible legislation.”


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