Plymouth City Council is spearheading a drive to ensure a greater proportion of homes in the city are affordable, with the launch of the new Plan for Social Rent.
The Plan for Social Rent outlines six actions the Council will be taking to tackle the issue of lack of affordable housing. These include lobbying the Government, working with local housing providers and Affordable Housing Loans.
Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Cooperatives, Housing and Community Safety for Plymouth City Council, said: “We have listened to people in housing need and their concerns about affordability, and many have said they are struggling to find homes that are affordable on a working wage.
“We have seen our housing waiting list for social housing increase as a result of a shortage of social housing. Cuts in welfare spending that directly impact on housing costs, such as the bedroom tax and benefit cap, have heaped further pressure on councils.
“One of the reasons people are struggling is the move by the Government to affordable rent rather than social rent, i.e. 80 per cent of market rent cost. Plymouth is a high housing cost, low wage economy which means that even 80 per cent may mean someone is having to pay £500 rent per month, which is a high amount if you are on a lower income.
“The Plan for Social Rent aims to work with registered housing providers in Plymouth to find a solution and ways of delivering more social rented homes in the city, let at a more affordable rent. At a time when there is less resource available, the Plan for Social Rent aims to increase the overall mix and choice of new and affordable homes in the city.”
The six points for the Plan for Social Rent are:
- We will work with registered providers to maximise opportunities to deliver social rented homes through the planning system
- We will work with the registered providers to support the delivery of social rented homes, by exploring how to creatively use Council resources such as land releases, the Affordable Housing Loan Facility and other financial support.
- We will work with registered providers to consider social rented propositions alongside other propositions when selling Council owned land.
- Plymouth City Council will explore how it can deliver social rented homes itself or through other new delivery models.
- Plymouth City Council will champion and make the case to the Government to include social rent as a tenure option that is able to secure Government support through current programmes so that a range of affordable housing tenures can be delivered.
- Plymouth City Council will lobby Government for greater flexibilities as a non-stock owning authority to be able to build Council houses itself.
To view the Plan for Social Rent click here: Plan for Social Rent final 060315.
For more information on the Plan for Social Rent, visit www.plymouth.gov.uk or call 01752 307577.