Labour hit back in row over Worcester's affordable homes

Worcester News: Affordable homes: councillors clash over it Affordable homes: councillors clash over it

A FRESH row has broken out over Worcester's affordable housing decline - with one councillor admitting "nobody has done a good job".

As your Worcester News revealed on Tuesday, the number of new affordable homes built in the city has plunged 35 per cent in a year.

Worcester MP Robin Walker has labelled the fall "shocking" and says the old Labour administration, which was in control during the fall, has "lost credibility".

The subject came up again during a meeting of the performance, management and budget scrutiny committee at the Guildhall.

Councillor Geoff Williams, the former Labour deputy leader, turned up clutching a copy of the Worcester News article.

"A great deal of excitement has been generated by our MP, who called it shocking, despite the fact the number of affordable homes built each year depends on the level of activity in the house building industry," he said.

"More houses are scheduled for completion in 2014/15 and the figure will go up - no doubt the MP will claim this is his doing.

"The last administration backed £1.2 million towards new affordable homes and the bidding process for that money only ended in May, so his criticism is a bit previous.

"It is not shocking, indeed if anything shocks, it is the general shortfall in affordable housing in this city over the last decade."

Tory Councillor Stephen Hodgson, who chairs the committee, sprang to Mr Walker's defence.

"The only thing we can compare is the number of properties actually made available, and the last year it has been lower than expected," he said.

He also told politicians views were always bound to be "subjective" given the importance of the issue.

The number of affordable homes built in 2013/14 was 76, four below the council's target of 80 and below the 117 in 2012/13.

Councillor Richard Boorn, the former cabinet member for finance, said: "The target this council put forward is irrelevant because in reality it bears no relation to what the city actually needs.

"We really, really need to actually set a target of what Worcester needs to meet the demand, instead of setting a low figure and saying 'oh, look we built one extra house this year'.

"Let's not kid ourselves, nobody has done a good job here."

There are around 2,300 people on a waiting list for affordable homes in the city.

Most affordable homes come about via agreements the planning committee makes with developers.

Comments (3)

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2:38pm Tue 1 Jul 14

green49 says...

"Let's not kid ourselves, nobody has done a good job here."

Thats an understatement, WHAT are affordable homes??? anyone know?? its just another of those stupid sayings that mean NOTHING.

ALL politicians are to blame for the housing situation yet they all claaim its everyone elses fault.
"Let's not kid ourselves, nobody has done a good job here." Thats an understatement, WHAT are affordable homes??? anyone know?? its just another of those stupid sayings that mean NOTHING. ALL politicians are to blame for the housing situation yet they all claaim its everyone elses fault. green49
  • Score: 2

3:56pm Tue 1 Jul 14

ACBLive says...

Except the truth is that Labour are at fault. A little history lesson. In 1999, two years after Tony Blair came to power, his deputy, John Prescott, ended the section 106 (ring fencing agreement for local authorities) to set aside monies for social housing. His gambit in trying to get developers to allocate 40% of new build social/affordable housing on large scale developments. This was never going to happen because it was unrealistic and not financially economical for developers. The average percentage prior to 1999 and strangely even with John Prescott in power, had always been 10%. It's no use blaming the Tories, you need to ask Johnny Prescott why he ended the affordable/social housing ring fenced pool for local authorities which resulted in the actual decline in new build homes??!!
Except the truth is that Labour are at fault. A little history lesson. In 1999, two years after Tony Blair came to power, his deputy, John Prescott, ended the section 106 (ring fencing agreement for local authorities) to set aside monies for social housing. His gambit in trying to get developers to allocate 40% of new build social/affordable housing on large scale developments. This was never going to happen because it was unrealistic and not financially economical for developers. The average percentage prior to 1999 and strangely even with John Prescott in power, had always been 10%. It's no use blaming the Tories, you need to ask Johnny Prescott why he ended the affordable/social housing ring fenced pool for local authorities which resulted in the actual decline in new build homes??!! ACBLive
  • Score: 3

9:57am Wed 2 Jul 14

green49 says...

ACBLive says It's no use blaming the Tories, So Margret Thatcher,s selling of council houses and then not allowing councils to reinvest in new housing wasnt wrong then??? thats in the history too if you look aswell as she sold of the utilities gas,rail,electrics etc etc to Private companies and they all now rip us off? OH she was a TORY and she also put a lot of people out of work, thers more much more? its in the History books and we are still paying for what she and her TORIES did and this mob in now are just doing the same thing.
ACBLive says It's no use blaming the Tories, So Margret Thatcher,s selling of council houses and then not allowing councils to reinvest in new housing wasnt wrong then??? thats in the history too if you look aswell as she sold of the utilities gas,rail,electrics etc etc to Private companies and they all now rip us off? OH she was a TORY and she also put a lot of people out of work, thers more much more? its in the History books and we are still paying for what she and her TORIES did and this mob in now are just doing the same thing. green49
  • Score: 0

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