“Pitiful” Paper promises “warm words” but no action

Published:  16 August, 2018

The government’s new Paper has been condemned as “pitiful” by MPs who want to see more money available for social housing.

The Green Paper, published on Tuesday, sets out plans to improve the quality of social housing, but not to build more of it.

The Paper was written by the Minister of Housing, Communities & Local Government, James Brokenshire MP, and Kit Malthouse MP. It was commissioned following the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Its proposals included helping tenants to hold their landlords to account, speeding up the complaints process, publishing league tables to highlight landlords’ performance, and a scheme to offer tenants the right to buy 1% of their home each year.

Brokenshire said: “Providing quality and fair social housing is a priority for this government.

“Our Green Paper offers a landmark opportunity for major reform to improve fairness, quality and safety to residents living in social housing across the country.”

However, the Paper has drawn criticism as it does not pledge any more funds towards social housing.

Polly Neate, CEO of homeless charity Shelter, said on Twitter that it is “full of warm words, but doesn’t commit a single extra penny towards building the social homes needed by the 1.2 million people on the waiting list”.

John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, made a statement on Labour’s website saying: “This pitiful document reveals a government that has run out of ideas on housing. Nothing in this Green Paper measures up to the scale of the housing crisis.

“The number of new social rented homes is at a record low but there is no new money to increase supply, and ministers are still preventing local authorities run by all parties from building the council homes their communities need.”

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