While members and supporters of the SHOUT campaign are getting underway with contacting MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates ahead of the General Election, we're also getting great feedback from Local Authorities.
This week saw an announcement from Nottingham City Council that they are joining the growing number of local authorities who are making a commitment to the Social Housing Under Threat manifesto. This is particularly pleasing for me as it’s where I grew up and Nottingham City Council is where I started my career. When I worked for them, they had 47,000 council homes, now the social rented stock in the city including that of Housing Associations as well as Nottingham City Homes is 35,000.
They agreed “with SHOUT that building social housing – social rented homes – is at the core of tackling the housing crisis nationally and locally in Nottingham and that social rented housing meets needs that other tenures cannot address”
Next week, we hope that Leicester City Council will also be presented with the SHOUT manifesto, and they will join Gateshead City Council, Cambridge City Council and Sheffield City Council in outlining their support for homes that people can afford, in the shape of genuine social housing.
Where we support the national debate about housebuilding raised by the Homes For Britain campaign, and have enjoyed cross-party support since the launch of our campaign for social housing, it is at the local level, where many of our recommendations are aimed, that we're finding the most fertile ground for our ideas.
You can help get involved by asking your local councillors to support our manifesto. Councils of all stripes recognise the value of a stable home, and a long-term investment in a valuable housing asset. Lower rents are better for tenants and better for the Housing Benefit bill. They allow better financial resilience for tenants and in addition make lower demands on emergency and hardship funds.
As opinion polls find that an increasing number of people recognise the financial and social value of council houses and social housing that tenants can afford, now is the time to get a commitment from your local council to carry on supporting the most efficient tenure available to them. Ask your politicians when they come door knocking in the run-up to the election what they are going to do to ensure more properly affordable social housing gets built to help solve the housing crisis near you.