Monday, 13 April 2009

Conservative Housing Policy Announced

Laura Sandys press release

Social Mobility, Equality of Opportunity and Renewed Pride in our Neighbourhoods at the Heart of Conservative Housing Policy
Also More Local Democracy and an End to Garden Grabbing

Laura Sandys, Conservative Candidate for South Thanet and Sandwich welcomes plans for a radical overhaul of housing policy.

Under new Conservative proposals, tenants in social housing across Thanet and Dover and Deal are to be offered the chance of genuine social mobility and equality of opportunity. Pride will be restored to local neighbourhoods, helping address anti-social behaviour and encourage social responsibility. Local homes will be built for local people, with the community – not bureaucrats in Whitehall – having the final say on the homes they want.

This comes as the latest analysis shows as the average house in Thanet and Dover costs £185,00 and £206,000 respectively, compared to average earnings of £27,800 and £28,900. This means that the average house is 6.7% times average earnings in Thanet and 7.1% times average earnings in Sandwich and our villages.

The detailed proposals include:
· Rewards for good behaviour: Offering tenants with a record of five years’ good tenant behaviour a 10% equity share in their social rented property, which can be cashed in when they want to move up the housing ladder. This will give tenants a direct financial stake in the state of their neighbourhood, and reward law-abiding citizens who pay their rent on time, keep their garden tidy, and ensure their children stay out of trouble. By contrast, Labour policies reinforce and reward welfare dependency.
· Cutting waiting lists: Relaxing the rules that prevent thousands of habitable empty properties being used to house those on local authority waiting lists.
· Local Housing Trusts: Allowing villages and towns to create entirely new community-led bodies with planning powers to develop local homes for local people, provided there is strong community backing. Affordable homes built by Local Housing Trusts will remain in local ownership in perpetuity, ensuring that future generations can benefit.
· More family homes and stopping garden grabbing: Reversing the classification of gardens as brownfield land, and allowing councils to prevent over-development of neighbourhoods and stop 'garden grabbing', which has resulted in a glut of flats, the demolition of suburban family homes and concreting over of their gardens.
· Incentives not top-down targets: Scrapping regional planning, and enabling councils to revise their current local plans to protect Green Belt land and prevent the unwanted imposition of so-called eco-towns. Instead, councils will keep more of the proceeds of new house building from council tax receipts, giving incentives to support new sustainable development.

Laura said:
“We need social housing which promotes opportunity and social mobility, rather than reinforcing welfare dependency. We must also champion the vulnerable and release more housing stock for those on our waiting lists.

“These proposals will reward the socially responsible citizens who pay their rent on time and keep their kids in check, and help restore a sense of pride to all our neighbourhoods.”

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