Important to have affordable housing

First published in Postbag

I WELCOME Annie Riddle’s positive contribution to the ongoing debate on the shortage of affordable housing (Opinion, June 19).

I share her view that Wiltshire Council’s investment in much needed houses for rent and flats for downsizing is very welcome indeed.

Cllr Richard Clewer is demonstrating he is both an excellent local councillor who stands up for Salisbury’s interests and an adept portfolio holder who recognises the significant challenges the county faces in increasing affordable housing provision.

Annie laid down a clear gauntlet for me to respond to on Right to Buy, and I would like to address her points.

I agree with her that social housing is an important part of our stock – and I know from experience how long and arduous the wait can be for those families desperate to move.

This is why it is important not just to maintain our existing stock, but to improve access to a range of affordable options in both the private and social sector.

Right to Buy is an aspirational policy: it supports the 61 per cent of tenants who want to buy their home eventually, but it is not about locking future generations out of that option.

It comes with a ‘one for one’ rule that ensures when a council house is sold the local authority receives money from the sale and are then able to replace it with another property.

Housing policy must prioritise increasing supply to deal with the root cause of high rents.

The changes the Government have made to give councils more flexibility and control of their stock has supported more than 170,000 new affordable homes – including more council housing in the last three years alone than in all 13 years of the previous administration.

John Glen MP, Salisbury

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