An Open Letter to Our MP Regarding the Housing Bill

By Mick Scrimshaw on February 2, 2017

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Please see below a copy of a letter I have sent this morning to our local MP which he has very kindly passed on to the Minister for housing and Planning for comment. It comes on the back of the recent presentation about local homelessness given to Councillors at a meeting of Kettering’s Town Forum, and is in response to the Housing and Planning Bill which is currently making its way through Parliament.

The Labour Group of Councillors on the Borough Council are committed to call for more social housing for local people, including the building of new Council houses.

Open Letter to Philip Hollobone MP

Dear Philip,

As a fellow local Councillor you will be aware of the desperate need for local affordable housing in Kettering. You would have probably also seen the Local Government Association’s response to the Housing and Planning Bill. In it they stress their support for the Government’s aim to increase housing supply, and go on to explain that Councils are willing to play a lead role in building new homes which includes social housing and affordable homes for families not ready to buy.

They set out their concerns that elements of the Bill will not help the Government to achieve its ambitions and may have unintended consequences by reducing the availability of much-needed Council housing. They explain that this could hamper the ability of local authorities to invest in new affordable housing to create the right mix of housing that local residents can afford.

I hope you feel able to use whatever influence you have with the Government and in Parliament to call for:

- Councils to have the freedom to manage their own housing assets.
- Councils to retain 100 per cent of receipts to invest in new and existing homes.
- The minimum provision of Councils being able to retain sufficient funds to replace each home sold under the right-to-buy scheme on a like for like basis.

I believe the Government should also remove caps of Council borrowing to build housing where they can produce a robust business case to do so. In this way local Councils could contribute to the Government’s target of the amount of new homes they wish to see built.

I hope you feel able to support changes in the bill that would grant Councils more flexibility in managing their current stock and also enable to invest in more desperately needed homes which Kettering would certainly benefit from.

Kind Regards,

Mick Scrimshaw is the Leader of the Labour Group at Kettering Borough Council, the Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance at Northamptonshire County Council. He has a public record of standing up for Kettering as a County Councillor for the Northall division in Kettering, Northants and since May 2015, a Borough Councillor for the William Knibb ward. He is a keen cyclist and also runs a family business with his wife.

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