Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Executive Member for Housing and Development at Islington Council, writes about why this election is about stopping the Tories’ devastating housing policies.
Speak to any local councillor in Islington, or either of our two brilliant local Labour MPs, and they’ll all tell you that the number one issue people come to see them about is housing.
We face a housing crisis in London. Too many people live in over-crowded homes; people struggling to afford private rents and the dream of owning your own home being out of the reach of most people in Islington. That’s why this General Election is for me, and many people in Islington, all about housing.
Islington Labour has been working tirelessly to build more new genuinely affordable homes for local people, including new council homes. In fact our council home building programme this year is the largest for 30 years in Islington. We’ve also set-up a council-run not-for-profit private lettings agency to provide tenants and landlords with a better deal. We’ve also introduced targeted landlord licensing schemes to improve standards for private renters, and we’ve secured fines of over £50,000 against landlords who weren’t treating tenants fairly.
But the Tory Government is determined to make the housing crisis in Islington worse, not better. We were able to stand alongside local residents to defeat the Tory Tenant Tax, which would have forced working people to pay more tax just because they are council tenants, but other disastrous Tory housing plans remain in place.
Such as the Tory plans to force the council to sell-off council homes, which will see Islington lose up to 300 council homes each year, making it far harder for us to find people who need them secure and affordable homes. The Tories also want to ban lifetime tenancies for council tenants, something we strongly oppose.
That’s why on the 8th June, people in Islington have a clear choice between Labour – who will build a million new homes, including 500,000 council homes, across the country, as well as introducing caps on rents and banning letting fees -; and the Tories, who have plans that will only make the housing crisis worse for local people.