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Agenda item

Notice of Motion Regarding "Housing Policy" - Given By Councillor Tony Downing and To Be Seconded By Councillor Kieran Harpham

That this Council:-

 

(a)       notes that between 1997 and 2010, the Labour Government built two million homes, helped a million more families become home-owners, provided greater security for private renters and put in the biggest investment in social housing for a generation;

 

(b)       regrets that since 2010, however, home-ownership numbers have fallen, with 200,000 fewer home-owning households nationally since 2010, and many young people are now unable to make their way onto the property ladder as housing prices rise far quicker than wages;

 

(c)        further notes that the level of home-ownership in the UK has fallen since 2009-10 from 67.4% to 62.9% in 2015-16, the lowest rate for 30 years and, just as starkly, notes that the number of under-45s owning a home has fallen by 900,000 since 2009-10, noting the generational divide that opened as a result of Conservative-Liberal Democrat policies in Government;

 

(d)       highlights that nationally the number of people in the private rented sector has increased by a staggering 1.2 million households since 2010, with one in four families with children (1.6 million households) now renting privately;

 

(e)       believes that more and more people are renting instead of buying due to simple supply and demand economics due to seven years of failed government policies which did not do enough to provide sufficient numbers of affordable homes, noting that last year the Government built the fewest affordable homes for 24 years and Conservative-Liberal Democrat Ministers’ cut government funding for affordable homes by 60% in 2010, and that, in total, the number of genuinely affordable homes for social rent started last year was fewer than 1,000, compared to 40,000 started in Labour’s last year in Government;

 

(f)        judges that Conservative Ministers have failed to deliver one-for-one replacements for homes sold through the Right-to-buy scheme - instead only one is being built for every five sold and this is having a damaging impact on the Council’s housing stock;

 

(g)       notes that the Government is still threatening to force councils to sell off the best of their homes to pay for the extension of the right to buy to housing associations, with independent estimates suggesting as many as 23,500 homes could be forced to be sold nationally;

 

(h)       contends that the Government is also badly letting down those who live in our council homes as, despite initial rhetoric to the counter, the Government have failed to provide additional funding for all of the fire safety up-grades the Council is making;

 

(i)         notes that in the wake of the Grenfell Fire disaster, this Administration acted quickly and decisively in response to concerns raised and the Council will be fitting sprinklers in all 24 of its tower blocks, moving forward what was already planned by this Administration;

 

(j)         notes that the Authority has already spent millions on fire safety in our council homes and improvement works have been carried out over the last five years and that it had always been intended to review the policy on sprinklers later this year, but this Administration made a commitment to bring forward plans to provide extra reassurance to residents;

 

(k)        notes that whilst independent tests have shown that cladding in 23 council tower blocks in Sheffield are completely safe – being made from solid aluminium or brick - the remaining one, Hanover tower, is already having its cladding removed after one element of the system failed the Government’s new fire safety test;

 

(l)         notes that Sheffield City Council has a rolling five-year programme of health and safety works to all council flats and maisonettes and, since 2010, this has focused on fire precaution works such as fire doors, filling cavities with a fire barrier product and hard-wired smoke alarms;

 

(m)      notes that this Administration acts decisively to ensure fire safety in Sheffield homes, but that because the Authority has proactively made arrangements, it is effectively being punished by the Government who are refusing to provide any additional funds for fire safety projects – despite the outcry as a result of the Grenfell disaster;

 

(n)       agrees with the words of Clive Betts, Labour MP for Sheffield South East, that the Government ought to share responsibility for ensuring that councils are able to implement the desired fire safety works, such as sprinklers as being undertaken by this Council, without it impacting on other services;

 

(o)       notes that under this Administration, a thousand new council homes will be created – the Administration is building council homes in the city for the first time in a generation, as well as acquiring them through acquisition, with all homes built to the National Lifetime Homes standard with potential to be adapted in the future for specific needs, the new homes have solar panels and heat recovery systems to keep running costs down, and some have been designed specifically for wheelchair users; and at the same time, this Administration is investing £300m to improve kitchens and bathrooms and help residents save money by improving insulation, heating and roofs;

 

(p)       notes that statistics released in April 2017 show that Labour Councils have on average built 50% more homes than Conservative Councils since 2010, and a report by Local Housing Innovations shows that Labour Councils are not just building more homes but building better homes too;

 

(q)       notes that Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, the Rt. Hon. John Healey MP, has committed that a future Labour Government will take bold action to tackle the housing crisis, including investing to build 100,000 affordable council and housing association homes a year, to rent and buy, a new charter of renters’ rights, and a new national plan to end rough sleeping, starting by doubling the number of affordable homes reserved for those with a history of sleeping rough; and

 

(r)        believes that national polices over the last seven years, since the formation of the Coalition Government, have failed millions for their housing needs and that Labour is now the only credible political party who can resolve this crisis.

 

Minutes:

7.1

It was moved by Councillor Tony Downing, and seconded by Councillor Kieran Harpham, that this Council:-

 

 

 

(a)       notes that between 1997 and 2010, the Labour Government built two million homes, helped a million more families become home-owners, provided greater security for private renters and put in the biggest investment in social housing for a generation;

 

(b)       regrets that since 2010, however, home-ownership numbers have fallen, with 200,000 fewer home-owning households nationally since 2010, and many young people are now unable to make their way onto the property ladder as housing prices rise far quicker than wages;

 

(c)        further notes that the level of home-ownership in the UK has fallen since 2009-10 from 67.4% to 62.9% in 2015-16, the lowest rate for 30 years and, just as starkly, notes that the number of under-45s owning a home has fallen by 900,000 since 2009-10, noting the generational divide that opened as a result of Conservative-Liberal Democrat policies in Government;

 

(d)       highlights that nationally the number of people in the private rented sector has increased by a staggering 1.2 million households since 2010, with one in four families with children (1.6 million households) now renting privately;

 

(e)       believes that more and more people are renting instead of buying due to simple supply and demand economics due to seven years of failed government policies which did not do enough to provide sufficient numbers of affordable homes, noting that last year the Government built the fewest affordable homes for 24 years and Conservative-Liberal Democrat Ministers’ cut government funding for affordable homes by 60% in 2010, and that, in total, the number of genuinely affordable homes for social rent started last year was fewer than 1,000, compared to 40,000 started in Labour’s last year in Government;

 

(f)        judges that Conservative Ministers have failed to deliver one-for-one replacements for homes sold through the Right-to-buy scheme - instead only one is being built for every five sold and this is having a damaging impact on the Council’s housing stock;

 

(g)       notes that the Government is still threatening to force councils to sell off the best of their homes to pay for the extension of the right to buy to housing associations, with independent estimates suggesting as many as 23,500 homes could be forced to be sold nationally;

 

(h)       contends that the Government is also badly letting down those who live in our council homes as, despite initial rhetoric to the counter, the Government have failed to provide additional funding for all of the fire safety up-grades the Council is making;

 

(i)         notes that in the wake of the Grenfell Fire disaster, this Administration acted quickly and decisively in response to concerns raised and the Council will be fitting sprinklers in all 24 of its tower blocks, moving forward what was already planned by this Administration;

 

(j)         notes that the Authority has already spent millions on fire safety in our council homes and improvement works have been carried out over the last five years and that it had always been intended to review the policy on sprinklers later this year, but this Administration made a commitment to bring forward plans to provide extra reassurance to residents;

 

(k)        notes that whilst independent tests have shown that cladding in 23 council tower blocks in Sheffield are completely safe – being made from solid aluminium or brick - the remaining one, Hanover tower, is already having its cladding removed after one element of the system failed the Government’s new fire safety test;

 

(l)         notes that Sheffield City Council has a rolling five-year programme of health and safety works to all council flats and maisonettes and, since 2010, this has focused on fire precaution works such as fire doors, filling cavities with a fire barrier product and hard-wired smoke alarms;

 

(m)      notes that this Administration acts decisively to ensure fire safety in Sheffield homes, but that because the Authority has proactively made arrangements, it is effectively being punished by the Government who are refusing to provide any additional funds for fire safety projects – despite the outcry as a result of the Grenfell disaster;

 

(n)       agrees with the words of Clive Betts, Labour MP for Sheffield South East, that the Government ought to share responsibility for ensuring that councils are able to implement the desired fire safety works, such as sprinklers as being undertaken by this Council, without it impacting on other services;

 

(o)       notes that under this Administration, a thousand new council homes will be created – the Administration is building council homes in the city for the first time in a generation, as well as acquiring them through acquisition, with all homes built to the National Lifetime Homes standard with potential to be adapted in the future for specific needs, the new homes have solar panels and heat recovery systems to keep running costs down, and some have been designed specifically for wheelchair users; and at the same time, this Administration is investing £300m to improve kitchens and bathrooms and help residents save money by improving insulation, heating and roofs;

 

(p)       notes that statistics released in April 2017 show that Labour Councils have on average built 50% more homes than Conservative Councils since 2010, and a report by Local Housing Innovations shows that Labour Councils are not just building more homes but building better homes too;

 

(q)       notes that Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, the Rt. Hon. John Healey MP, has committed that a future Labour Government will take bold action to tackle the housing crisis, including investing to build 100,000 affordable council and housing association homes a year, to rent and buy, a new charter of renters’ rights, and a new national plan to end rough sleeping, starting by doubling the number of affordable homes reserved for those with a history of sleeping rough; and

 

(r)        believes that national polices over the last seven years, since the formation of the Coalition Government, have failed millions for their housing needs and that Labour is now the only credible political party who can resolve this crisis.

 

 

7.2

Whereupon, it was moved by Councillor Paul Scriven, and seconded by Councillor Penny Baker, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by the deletion of all the words after the words “That this Council” and the addition of the following words:-

 

 

 

(a)       notes that the housing crisis in the UK is long standing and started in 1976 when the numbers of houses built started to decline and has never recovered since then to build numbers at pre-1976 levels;

 

(b)       is concerned that the number of affordable and social housing has declined since the 1960s over successive governments of all colours and that this trend needs to be reversed if the UK is to tackle its housing crisis;

 

(c)        is adamant we should never return to the sub prime mortgage market rampant in the 2000s, pre the 2008 crash, that fuelled unsustainable mortgages and unaffordable home ownership;

 

(d)       believes that local authorities have the determination and ability to make a massive contribution to solving the housing crisis, if given the powers to do so;

 

(e)       therefore supports a campaign to unlock the potential of local government to help solve the housing crisis by supporting the following:-

 

 

 

(i)      the right for councils to borrow against their Housing Revenue Account to build local social housing for rent and therefore for the caps to be significantly lifted and in some cases scrapped;

 

(ii)     for each local council to determine its own right to buy policy, including the right not to have a right to buy system; and

 

(iii)    the ability for councils to implement a local land tax for those who are land banking, so to help to release land to build homes on; and

 

 

 

(f)        requests that a copy of this motion be sent to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

 

 

7.3

After contributions from other Members and following Councillor Tony Downing declining his right of reply, the amendment was put to the vote and negatived.

 

 

7.3.1

The votes on the amendment were ordered to be recorded and were as follows:-

 

 

 

For the amendment (24)

-

The Deputy Lord Mayor (Councillor Magid Magid) and Councillors Andy Nash, Richard Shaw, Douglas Johnson, Robert Murphy, Adam Hanrahan, Joe Otten, Colin Ross, Martin Smith, Pauline Andrews, Roger Davison, Shaffaq Mohammed, Paul Scriven, Sue Alston, Andrew Sangar, Ian Auckland, Sue Auckland, Steve Ayris, Alison Teal, David Baker, Penny Baker, Vickie Priestley, Jack Clarkson and John Booker.

 

 

 

 

 

Against the amendment (44)

-

The Lord Mayor (Councillor Anne Murphy) and Councillors Chris Rosling-Josephs, Ian Saunders, Sophie Wilson, Denise Fox, Bryan Lodge, Karen McGowan, Michelle Cook, Kieran Harpham, Jackie Drayton, Talib Hussain, Mark Jones, Moya O’Rourke, Craig Gamble Pugh, Mazher Iqbal, Mary Lea, Zahira Naz, Andy Bainbridge, Steve Wilson, Abdul Khayum, Abtisam Mohamed, Lewis Dagnall, Cate McDonald, Bob Johnson, George Lindars-Hammond, Josie Paszek, Lisa Banes, David Barker, Tony Downing, Mohammad Maroof, Jim Steinke, Mike Drabble, Dianne Hurst, Peter Rippon, Garry Weatherall, Mike Chaplin, Tony Damms, Richard Crowther, Olivia Blake, Ben Curran, Neale Gibson, Zoe Sykes, Jackie Satur and Paul Wood.

 

 

 

 

 

Abstained on the amendment (0)

-

Nil

 

 

7.4

The original Motion was then put to the vote and carried as follows:-

 

 

 

RESOLVED: That this Council:-

 

 

 

(a)       notes that between 1997 and 2010, the Labour Government built two million homes, helped a million more families become home-owners, provided greater security for private renters and put in the biggest investment in social housing for a generation;

 

(b)       regrets that since 2010, however, home-ownership numbers have fallen, with 200,000 fewer home-owning households nationally since 2010, and many young people are now unable to make their way onto the property ladder as housing prices rise far quicker than wages;

 

(c)        further notes that the level of home-ownership in the UK has fallen since 2009-10 from 67.4% to 62.9% in 2015-16, the lowest rate for 30 years and, just as starkly, notes that the number of under-45s owning a home has fallen by 900,000 since 2009-10, noting the generational divide that opened as a result of Conservative-Liberal Democrat policies in Government;

 

(d)       highlights that nationally the number of people in the private rented sector has increased by a staggering 1.2 million households since 2010, with one in four families with children (1.6 million households) now renting privately;

 

(e)       believes that more and more people are renting instead of buying due to simple supply and demand economics due to seven years of failed government policies which did not do enough to provide sufficient numbers of affordable homes, noting that last year the Government built the fewest affordable homes for 24 years and Conservative-Liberal Democrat Ministers’ cut government funding for affordable homes by 60% in 2010, and that, in total, the number of genuinely affordable homes for social rent started last year was fewer than 1,000, compared to 40,000 started in Labour’s last year in Government;

 

(f)        judges that Conservative Ministers have failed to deliver one-for-one replacements for homes sold through the Right-to-buy scheme - instead only one is being built for every five sold and this is having a damaging impact on the Council’s housing stock;

 

(g)       notes that the Government is still threatening to force councils to sell off the best of their homes to pay for the extension of the right to buy to housing associations, with independent estimates suggesting as many as 23,500 homes could be forced to be sold nationally;

 

(h)       contends that the Government is also badly letting down those who live in our council homes as, despite initial rhetoric to the counter, the Government have failed to provide additional funding for all of the fire safety up-grades the Council is making;

 

(i)         notes that in the wake of the Grenfell Fire disaster, this Administration acted quickly and decisively in response to concerns raised and the Council will be fitting sprinklers in all 24 of its tower blocks, moving forward what was already planned by this Administration;

 

(j)         notes that the Authority has already spent millions on fire safety in our council homes and improvement works have been carried out over the last five years and that it had always been intended to review the policy on sprinklers later this year, but this Administration made a commitment to bring forward plans to provide extra reassurance to residents;

 

(k)        notes that whilst independent tests have shown that cladding in 23 council tower blocks in Sheffield are completely safe – being made from solid aluminium or brick - the remaining one, Hanover tower, is already having its cladding removed after one element of the system failed the Government’s new fire safety test;

 

(l)         notes that Sheffield City Council has a rolling five-year programme of health and safety works to all council flats and maisonettes and, since 2010, this has focused on fire precaution works such as fire doors, filling cavities with a fire barrier product and hard-wired smoke alarms;

 

(m)      notes that this Administration acts decisively to ensure fire safety in Sheffield homes, but that because the Authority has proactively made arrangements, it is effectively being punished by the Government who are refusing to provide any additional funds for fire safety projects – despite the outcry as a result of the Grenfell disaster;

 

(n)       agrees with the words of Clive Betts, Labour MP for Sheffield South East, that the Government ought to share responsibility for ensuring that councils are able to implement the desired fire safety works, such as sprinklers as being undertaken by this Council, without it impacting on other services;

 

(o)       notes that under this Administration, a thousand new council homes will be created – the Administration is building council homes in the city for the first time in a generation, as well as acquiring them through acquisition, with all homes built to the National Lifetime Homes standard with potential to be adapted in the future for specific needs, the new homes have solar panels and heat recovery systems to keep running costs down, and some have been designed specifically for wheelchair users; and at the same time, this Administration is investing £300m to improve kitchens and bathrooms and help residents save money by improving insulation, heating and roofs;

 

(p)       notes that statistics released in April 2017 show that Labour Councils have on average built 50% more homes than Conservative Councils since 2010, and a report by Local Housing Innovations shows that Labour Councils are not just building more homes but building better homes too;

 

(q)       notes that Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, the Rt. Hon. John Healey MP, has committed that a future Labour Government will take bold action to tackle the housing crisis, including investing to build 100,000 affordable council and housing association homes a year, to rent and buy, a new charter of renters’ rights, and a new national plan to end rough sleeping, starting by doubling the number of affordable homes reserved for those with a history of sleeping rough; and

 

(r)        believes that national polices over the last seven years, since the formation of the Coalition Government, have failed millions for their housing needs and that Labour is now the only credible political party who can resolve this crisis.