Friday, 25 February 2011

Housing Standards of Growing Concern says Independent

I have been working hard to highlight the issue of poor standards of housing in the constituency. I am glad to see that this issue is now beginning to get the attention that it deserves. Many of you may have seen the recent story by the BBC looking specifically at housing standards in Hyndburn.

This is the article in the Independent on Thursday, 24 February 2011:

40% jump in people renting homes

The number of people renting a home has soared by 40% during the past five years as low levels of house building and the mortgage drought have prevented potential buyers from getting on to the property ladder.

About 3.4 million households were living in privately rented accommodation during 2009/10, up from 2.4 million in 2005, according to the English Housing Survey.

At the same time the number of people who owned their own home fell from a peak of 14.8 million in 2005 and 2006 to 14.5 million.

The increase in people living in private rented homes was particularly marked from 2007 onwards, with the percentage of households in this position jumping from 12.7% to 15.6%.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Private Rented Sector

This week I went to see Ed Miliband about the ongoing problems of constituents such as Miss Pemberton whose privately rented property is a disgrace. Ed Miliband has stated that housing is key issue for Labour

A landlord licensing scheme that may help is being held up by private landlords who have applied for a judicial review.

Private landlords create a sea of human misery in certain areas. Miss Pemberton's Accrington house was featured on BBC News all day last Saturday.

Despite £billions for Council Housing the last Labour government didn’t meet peoples housing needs especially in private rented sector.

The Landlord Licencing legislation introduced in 2005 is a start. As we the housing market renewal funding received from government to deal with low demand areas. A target to for PRS homes to meet the decent homes standard has fallen by the way side. The dubious 70% target by 2010 has little effect on constituencies like Hyndburn.

Hyndburn and Haslingden GP's air their views on NHS reforms

This week I have written to all GP's in Haslingden and Hyndburn to gather their views on the radical shake up of the NHS that will see nearly all fundholding transfer to them away from hospitals and strategic health authorities.

These plans will mean GP's buy what services they feel necessary and that all hospitals will become private businesses competing against each other including private hospitals.

If hospitals can't pay there way or fail to make a profit from selling their services to GP's they will go bust and be closed. A wholesale marketisation of health care that will see winners and losers.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Hyndburn landlords call for a Judicial Review of Landlord Licensing

The latest deadline to register under the scheme was the 1st of Feb. However Hyndburn landlords are contesting the scheme in court and the entire scheme is effectively on hold until the court rules that the scheme is either legitimate and can proceed or that ait should be declared void.

Royds Avenue road safety scheme

Following the safety audit and geotechnical comments the original scheme has had to be revised. This is part of the normal development process for traffic calming schemes.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Your MP campaigning on TV on tomorrows BBC Breakfast News on Private Landlords

For a month or so I have been pushing BBC Breakfast News to cover the issue of Private Landlords.

I have met with the producers on two occasions in Parliament and had numerous emails and phone calls to encourage them to raise the issue of the misery that many people go through in private renting.

The BBC have picked up the issue and this week they have been out and about filming including in Hyndburn (see photo inset).

Why the New Homes Bonus is a disaster for Hyndburn and East Lancashire

The government would have us believe that the New Homes Bonus is a simple government initiative intended to create incentives for house building. Equitable strategic government housing targets have now been abolished.

Instead it is a choice for local areas. Sounds so simple and fair right?

It isn't. Money is being deducted from all Council budgets and paid back to those that build. My issue here is this: the south requires homes; but the north does not. The policy is designed only to deal with undersupply, so the result will be that payments will predominantly be focused in the South, at the expense of the North.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Government does small u-turn on Hyndburn housing cash

I have been pressing the government hard in parliament to fund housing in the constituency. We have 2500 empties.

Housing Market Renewal which should have put £50million into East Accrington was scapped with just £1million spent on acquisitions. Last February the Council Leader had personal correspondence from the then shadow minster 'guranteeing HMR funding to Hyndburn'.

Woodnook and East Accrington should have received nearly £9million next year.The Council had chosen to exclude many areas of the Borough and concentrate the first 70 years and £60million on West Accrington exlusively.

The government are under pressure for abandoning blighted communities. This £2.6million is welcome but is sticking plaster.

A report by Hyndburn Council in November highlighted housing repairs totalling £479million and that that figure would increase as more properties fell into disrepair.

We should stop private house building for those that will never afford to maintain the cheaply constructed homes built to supply the cheap end of the market. We should rebuild (from empties) hundreds of Council sponsored properties.

This housing crises and the disgraceful way Tory Councillors have sold Woodnook, East Accrington and Hyndburn down the river is shameful.

Government sell off of Englands forests

The Government have announced their intention to sell off Forestry Commission land in England before consulting on the proposals. They have failed to provide any assurances that important safeguards will be met.

The Public Bodies Bill paves the way for the sell off of the English Forestry Commission Estate (FCE) and will allow Ministers to dispose of land without prior consultation with Parliament. In Scotland and Wales forestry is a devolved issue.

Ministers have said that they wish to dispose of a ‘substantial’ part of England’s woodland.

This is not the first time the Tories have attempted to sell off our forests.