Dorset Council’s housing policies: failing local people

Date:

Gerald Davies North Dorset labour Party

It’s a known fact that 40% of Dorset’s population are on low wages. In the Dorset Council and BCP Council (next door) areas, more than 5,000 homes are second homes, holiday lets or just left empty.
There is a housing emergency in Dorset – caused by a failure of the councils’ and government’s housing policies over the last 14 years. Dorset has around 4,500 households on the housing register, and more than 300 families in costly temporary accommodation.
House prices are 10 to 12 times a typical salary for the area – meaning many Dorset residents can’t afford to buy their own home. Families and young people feel they have to move away from the communities they grew up in to find somewhere they can afford to live.
So called ‘affordable housing’ is nothing of the sort. Rents are tied to house prices, and demand for rental homes greatly outstrips supply. The Government definition of affordable housing is ‘80 per cent of the market rent’.
Housing inequality is changing the demographic of Dorset and damaging the viability of local services. At current rates we can expect well over half of the population to be over 65 within the next ten to 20 years.
Those Labour councillors elected this coming May will seek to ensure that Dorset Council:
recognises that good housing is a universal right and produces a new housing strategy within that context
works with the incoming [Labour] Government to enable Dorset Council to build more council homes through a different funding process
significantly increases the proportion of new homes for social rent for local residents
supports community-led and co-operative housing programmes
works with the incoming [Labour] Government to strengthen restraints and restrictions on second homes and Airbnb
acknowledges that the private rented sector currently provides much of the non-owner-occupied housing in Dorset and will work with good landlords towards raising and enforcing standards
reviews the council’s homelessness policies and the housing advice service to ensure that they provide fair, humane and supportive practices for all.
Gerald Davies
North Dorset Labour Party

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