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Agreeing with the issues already raised around environmental destruction, inadequate infrastructure and sustainability I will use this time to raise the issue of unmet affordable housing demand in Eastleigh of which the emerging plan will once again have little impact.

A recent report by the Halifax showed that the total value of homes in London is now worth more than all the houses of Scotland, Wales and the north of England put together and that this is spilling out into the SE.  Over 55s hold 63.3% of this housing wealth and the under 35s just 3.3%.  This shows the huge regional and generational inequalities locking young people in the SE out of home ownership.

After Low levels of house building we acknowledge the need to build housing however investment and speculative gain by developers, buy to let landlords and other housing providers, plus potential population movements particularly from London means that there is little indication that increased supply of housing in the SE will have any significant impact on affordability.

Eastleigh particularly has significant unmet demand for affordable housing as shown by its home choice register for socially rented housing.  The last local plan was rejected in part because it failed to meet the needs for affordable housing and for it’s reliance on private rental provision to meet this affordable shortfall. Eastleigh Labour believe that exploitative private renting generally fails on affordability, adequate standards and in the provision of long term secure tenancies – essential for families and vulnerable people with regard to schooling and community support. 

Of the 35% so called “affordable housing” provided within these developments only a fraction will be for socially rented housing which is where the greatest demand lies and that which is will be based on an affordability rate of 80% of market rents.  This is a significant increase in comparison with traditional Council housing whose rents were based on an affordability rate of 25% of income ( roughly 50% of market rents). EBC’s last plan was criticised as “entirely inappropriate” for looking at affordable rents above 30% of income yet it is now considering how an increase to 40% of income will reduce it’s need for affordable homes  to 266 households per annum from 439.*1  Eastleigh Labour says you do not reduce affordable need by redefining affordability and we believe that the level of rents already being charged by Eastleigh’s housing associations are forcing more tenants onto housing benefit in the same way as those renting in the private sector.

With all political parties acknowledging the failure of the current housing market particularly around affordability in the SE and increasingly looking at council housing once again to meet the demand for genuinely affordable housing we ask the LibDem controlled EBC to re-think its emerging plan.  To stop its reliance on the needs of large corporations and housing associations and to put the needs of local people first.  Eastleigh Labour sees this as an opportunity to get it right for the long term - to provide genuinely affordable and quality housing whilst protecting valuable and irreplaceable natural habitat and wildlife for future generations.

Eastleigh Labour Party’s proposals are as follows

  • All significant developments to provide more than 40% quality council housing - promoting new technologies for carbon reduction.
  • To stop exploitative practices by developers such as unregulated and uncapped maintenance fees on private “unadopted” estates
  • to reduce the number of  low density greenfield developments which are so profitable for developers and to preserve natural habitats – just 5% of Eastleigh borough remains as such
  • to encourage the use of public transports by building around established rail networks where possible and incorporating cycle lanes within developments.
  • To encourage the use of smaller local building firms where possible

Unsustainable property building fuelled by investment and corporate profits is not the answer for our community who need genuinely affordable houses for homes.   As such we do not support the councils emerging plan or the planned developments within it.

*1  https://www.eastleigh.gov.uk/media/102797/ppi_EastleighhousingneedsstudyJune15.pdf

 

Local Plan: Jill Payne addresses the Eastleigh Borough Council

Click for video. Agreeing with the issues already raised around environmental destruction, inadequate infrastructure and sustainability I will use this time to raise the issue of unmet affordable housing demand...

Dear Mims

I am writing on behalf of Eastleigh Labour Party to urge you to speak in a Backbench Business Debate on the future of refuge funding at 9.30-11am on 12 December 2017.

Refuges for victims of domestic violence and abuse are more than only a ‘bed for the night.’ They are specialist services, providing safe and anonymous shelter and support for women and children escaping domestic abuse. Demand for refuge remains sky-high; 60 per cent of total referrals to refuge were declined in 2016-17 and shockingly, on just one day this year, 90 women and 94 children were turned away. As survivor Mandy Thomas has said, “if you don’t have a place to go, you back”.

The Government recognise refuges’ critical role and have delivered welcome emergency grants for ‘support funding’ in refuge since 2014. The Government will also lead a ‘review’ of refuge funding in 2018 - the same year as a landmark new Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill will be scrutinised in Parliament.

We are concerned, however, that the Government’s proposals to reform refuge funding, as part of a new funding model for ‘short-term supported housing services’ from 2020, threatens to undermine this welcome legislation and will dismantle the national network of refuges. Women’s Aid’s research shows the new funding model would force over half of refuges to close or reduce their provision in England. It is also estimated that refuges would have to turn away 2,058 women and 2,202 children from life-saving shelter.  

Currently, housing benefit provides around half of a refuge’s total income. The Government’s proposed model would end a woman’s entitlement to housing benefit - or Universal Credit - when in refuge, and devolve this ‘housing funding’ to local authorities. This would end the last sustainable national income that refuges receive, and result in the full devolution of responsibility and resourcing - at a time when we already have a ‘postcode lottery’ of refuge provision.

Women’s Aid and refuge providers are warning that this local model risks the end of the national network of refuges. As two thirds of women flee to a refuge outside of their local area to escape a perpetrator, these services cannot be planned or operate on a local basis alone. 

Please support Women’s Aid’s SOS: Save Refuges, Save Lives Campaign, attend the Backbench Business Debate on refuge funding, scheduled for 9.30-11am on 12 December 2017, and write to the Secretaries of State for Work and Pensions and Communities and Local Government to raise concerns about the impact of this funding model on life-saving refuge services. You can find Women’s Aid’s briefing on the reforms here.

Eastleigh Labour party took part in the recent White Ribbon day for men to pledge never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.   We sold many ribbons on our street stall in Eastleigh and discovered this was a very important issue for residents.

Your recent Constituency Newsletter reported on the work you have been doing to promote #drawaline is UN Women's global campaign to end violence against women.   As the MP for Eastleigh and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in Parliament, I hope you will add your support for this campaign and help save refuges.

Yours sincerely
Phil Baker
Secretary, Eastleigh Labour Party
69 Leigh Rd, Eastleigh. SO50 9DF

Mims Davies: Urgent debate on the future funding of Women refuges, 12th December 2017

Dear Mims I am writing on behalf of Eastleigh Labour Party to urge you to speak in a Backbench Business Debate on the future of refuge funding at 9.30-11am on 12 December 2017....

Following the Autumn Budget our local members took to the streets last Saturday to meet shoppers at our two stalls in Hedge End and Eastleigh as part of Labour’s National Campaign day.

Many agreed that the Government’s Autumn Budget was an advert for a system that isn’t working for the majority. Pay is now lower for most people than it was in 2010 and wages are now falling again. The deficit was due to be eradicated by 2015, then 2016, then 2017, then 2020 and now 2025. They’re missing their major targets but the failed and damaging policy of austerity remains. If only they had listened to Labour when we said invest in Housing, Jobs, Health and Education while interest rates were low!

As socialists we are happy to share our solutions. Build Council Houses to move people out of the extortionate private renting sector and stop benefits filling the pockets of landlords. Nationalise the Railway, Buses and Utility companies so these vital services are run for people not profit. Likewise, halt the privatisation of Health, Social Care and Education.

It was also White Ribbon Day where men take the pledge never to commit, excuse and be silent about Violence Against Women. We sold many ribbons, raising much-needed funds for refuges that help victims of domestic abuse but are also facing large cuts.

National Campaign Day in Hedge End & Eastleigh

Following the Autumn Budget our local members took to the streets last Saturday to meet shoppers at our two stalls in Hedge End and Eastleigh as part of Labour’s National...

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