Shropshire Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee heard today that there is nowhere near enough social housing.
Just 1 in 7 of the homes in the County are affordable, we would need an extra 5,000 just to meet the national average and thousands more to fulfil the need of local families. As a result too many people are paying high market rents or faced with homelessness resulting in social, health and economic harm to our community.
Shropshire Council has a very modest target of 2% growth in social housing, that’s just 350 a year. The Committee learnt that even this has not been achieved, the net gain for the last year being around 150. The problem is getting worse because the Council only requires new housing developers to make as little as 10% of its schemes affordable . Neighbouring Councils like South Staffordshire and Herefordshire get developers to provide a much higher proportion, up to 40%. They know that this makes a real difference to our families.
Speaking at the meeting Green Party Cllr Duncan Kerr said “Its time for a new approach to deliver the social housing that our communities need”. He proposed that the Cabinet of Shropshire Council be asked to move towards a target of 40% for new development and that the Council establish a capital fund of between £5 and £10M to directly build new social housing. This call for action was supported by Liberal Democrat Councillors but failed when the Tory Councillors voted against it.
Responding to this Duncan said “Unfortunately the Committee charged with scrutinising the Cabinet on behalf of the many families who need social housing have turned-down the opportunity to make a step change in the delivery of affordable homes. It seems that the same old failed policies will continue with the same failed results. Fortunately the Green Party is there to lobby on behalf of those who cannot get their voice heard and we will continue to do so through the Council’s budget process”.