Here’s my latest Muswell Flyer article on housing in Haringey. You can read this article and previous articles online here.
Many years ago, I got a mortgage for my first flat (off the Archway Road) – which enabled me to get a first foot on the property ladder. Social housing for those in need was also relatively easy to come by.
The same certainly cannot be said in Haringey today. Unfortunately, housing here is a huge problem – particularly for those on the Council waiting list, those already in social housing, and young professionals and families struggling to save a deposit for a first home.
The waiting list for social housing has over 10,000 families on it. There are simply too many people in need and not enough houses available.
The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, Margaret Thatcher’s policy of selling off council homes without reinvestment in replacement housing; and secondly, Haringey Council not building any new homes in 25 years.
There are also problems with the quality of social housing. I think social housing should be attractive and built to last – not neglected and run-down. Yet, every week, I am contacted by residents who desperately need repair and maintenance work, and are just not getting it.
There are serious problems with Labour-run Haringey’s housing arm – Homes for Haringey. News recently broke that staff claimed over £3.7million in bonuses in less than two years. This was just shocking – this was public money which could have gone towards refurbishing 300 local homes.
It’s this type of behaviour that the local Lib Dems are fighting against in the local elections next year, as they attempt to take control of Haringey Council from Labour.
In the private rental sector – there are also young people and families unable to save for a deposit to buy their first home due to high rents. And with rents and property prices on the rise, it can be daunting and difficult for first time buyers.
So, with the lack of building, bonus scandals and wastefulness, and rising property prices, people in Haringey are up against it.
But it’s not all bad news.
The Coalition Government has introduced measures to ease the crisis. The new Help to Buy scheme is giving young people the chance to get on the property ladder – by offering them new homes if they have a 5% deposit. The rest of the deposit will be covered by a Government loan.
Council tenants are still able to buy their homes – but now, Councils must reinvest the money in social housing, to ensure we have a rolling stock.
The Lib Dems in Government have also delivered more affordable housing and succeeded in bringing empty homes back into use. We’ve also given Councils extra money towards decent homes work – to improve the quality of social housing.
And we are starting to see some changes. Housing supply is now at its highest since the end of the unsustainable housing boom in 2008, with 334,000 new homes built over the last three years. The number of first-time buyers is also at a five-year high!