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Is enough being done in our region to tackle the balance of social housing?

News clipping Dover Express article on social housingSocial housing, that is, homes that people can rent at a fair price, either from public or private owners, is different from affordable housing (a larger category including home ownership for people who can get a mortgage).

The amount of social housing has dropped dramatically since the 1980’s when the Conservative government forced councils to allow people to buy council houses but stopped councils using the money from the sales to build more council houses for the next generation.

The Green Party wants a major programme by 2022 to build 100,000 zero-carbon, socially rented homes nationally each year. We want to end council house sales and to legislate so councils have to bring empty homes back into use by refitting them as social housing.

We know that Dover New Local Plan Scoping Report 2018 refers to the East Kent Growth Framework and ‘enhancing town centres’ so that a town centre like Dover ‘becomes a location of first choice for young people and families’. The words are very appealing.

It is great when people can walk from their homes to their schools, shops and workplaces, without using a car. More quality homes that are cheap-to-heat, and cheap-to-rent in Dover Town would also be good for our independent shops (as would a cut in DDC business rates).

We welcome the No Use Empty scheme of DDC but feel it needs to have serious council investment in order to make it work.

To help young people, Greens would reinstate housing benefit for under 21s and reverse housing benefit cuts.

People who rent need more security so Greens favour rent controls, more secure tenancies for private renters, an end to letting fees and compulsory licensing of all landlords.

Housing and access to green spaces are a human right, so we say brownfield development first.