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Readers' Letters

Readers' Letters

Crisis caused by the shortage of affordable homes

PUBLISHED: 17:14 08 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:10 14 October 2010

In the past few months these pages have carried story after story about the likely impacts of the Government's proposed housing benefit cuts. We can expect more homelessness, tougher times for people unable to meet London s impossibly high housing costs,

In the past few months these pages have carried story after story about the likely impacts of the Government's proposed housing benefit cuts. We can expect more homelessness, tougher times for people unable to meet London's impossibly high housing costs, and extra pressure on councils to deal with these problems with even less money.

These are gradually convincing politicians from all parties that the reforms would be disastrous.

But we must not lose sight of the root of the problem, which is also the only solution to the tens of billions we spend on housing benefit each year. That is the shortage of affordable council housing.

The Mayor of London was moved to criticise the cuts, but didn't mention his own research which shows that the increase in housing benefit claimants almost exactly matches the shortfall in council housing provision.

The consensus of the past decade, that private developers will build the council housing we need, while4 greater numbers of homes are sold off through Right to Buy, saw the stock of council housing actually decline in a city with a growing population.

Until we put an end to Right to Buy and give councils the money to build the homes their residents need, which would be cheaper in the long term, we will never find a fair and sensible way to reduce the housing benefit bill. - Jenny Jones, Green Party Member of the London Assembly, City Hall, The Queen's Walk, SE1.


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