Usdaw is calling on the Government to:
- Build 145,000 homes that are genuinely available and accessible to all working people each year for the next five years. This should include 100,000 homes for social rent, providing those on low incomes with access to long term tenancies, in quality controlled accommodation.
- Give first time buyers exclusive rights to purchase new-build homes for the first six months after they become available.
- In areas where the housing crisis is at its worse, prioritise housing delivery when selling surplus public sector land and buildings, rather than selling sites to the highest bidder.
- Look at all forms of rent controls.
- Increase the proportion of affordable housing requirements on developers.
Addressing annual conference delegates, Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary said:
“The UK is in the midst of a housing crisis. According to the housing charity Shelter, over a quarter of a million people are homeless, including 126,000 children and in total, 17.5 million people are impacted by the housing emergency – living in overcrowded, dangerous, unstable or unaffordable housing.
“While there were some temporary protections in place during the Coronavirus pandemic, such as the increase in Universal Credit, the eviction ban and the 'Everyone In' scheme, this support was withdrawn immediately and as a result, far too many people are struggling to put a decent roof over their heads. This is something which is simply unacceptable.
“In a latest Scottish Government report, social sector housing accounted for just 28% of all new build homes built during 2020. In England, over the same period, on 868 homes, or 9% of new builds were available for social rent. Government cuts to local funding is stifling the ability of councils to build new homes and fuelling the housing crisis and whilst these decisions are made by the Tories in Westminster, it is working people right across the country who are paying the price.
“Usdaw's cost of living survey earlier this year showed that more than one in five members missed rent or mortgage payments last year, a figure that rose to over one in four for members with children. There is a clear need for high quality housing, decent housing should never be seen as a luxury, only available to the rich, but as a basic right which we should all be able to access.
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with around 360,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
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