Non Cabinet Members' Debate
Decision Maker: Council
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The following substantive motion (as amended) was AGREED as the outcome of the non-cabinet member debate:
“Building the Homes our Community Needs
This Council notes:
The pressures on Council Housing stock are immense and in the absence of Government investment, will not ease in the coming months and years, rather they will grow even more. For example, in Brent there are currently 25,853 households on our housing waiting list, containing 53,644 individuals. Even at a record-breaking pace of building, without a renaissance in Government investment in the social housing sector, many of these families will regrettably wait many years for a home.
The Cost of Living Crisis, compounded by a Government that has created a disastrous macroeconomic situation in the UK, has seen more local residents turn to the council for support with their housing needs, with a 33% increase in approaches in the last year. As an authority we are working around the clock to provide support to households effected by the Cost of Living Crisis, with a Resident Support Fund that has distributed £8.46 million to 4,045 households, aiding hundreds of families with Rent Arrears and Mortgage payments; and those in need of food and fuel support.
We are proud that Brent has made progress in seeking to supply Council Homes, with a record of consistently being one of the leading boroughs in providing social homes in London. There is still more to do and we need to see greater, more urgent resolve from all political parties to deliver more Council Homes for our tenants. There have been 20 ministers for housing in the past 25 years and four housing secretaries in just over a year. We desperately need action from our new Minister, on waiting lists for council housing, supporting private tenants that are made homeless, aiding cladding victims that remain trapped in unsellable flats and homeowners living in fear of their next mortgage bill. Finally, without the abolition of Right to Buy London will continue to see more council homes sold and private-let with 54,000 and counting across the capital.
The latest report to Cabinet, entitled, ‘Update on the supply of New Affordable Homes’, sets out where Brent is when it comes to the delivery of the New Council Homes Programme (NCHP), our programme to develop 1,000 new council homes by 2025. To date, the Council has developed and let 684 new homes to Brent households and there are 616 homes on site and on track to be completed before 2025. This programme has been made possible through a grant in excess of £100m from the Mayor of London, Labour’s Sadiq Khan, and an investment of more than £200m of the council’s own money.
Spiralling inflation, exacerbated by a botched mini-budget has not only impacted Brent residents, but has also put our council house building programme at risk. As such, on the 14th November, the Cabinet was asked to formalise a change of approach that would allow Brent Council to deliver much needed housing, within the challenging social and economic climate, providing 50% of new stock at Council Rent and London Affordable Rent level in its own developments. This approach will deliver Social Housing on Council owned land and will achieve our overriding ambition to reduce the ever-growing housing waiting list in a meaningful way. Where appropriate, council owned land will be used to build the next generation of council homes and play our part in addressing the housing crisis.
There are also a growing number of local people in Brent and in our city, who have been life-long residents of Brent and who are now being priced out of the borough, because of a shortfall in the supply of housing, while demand continues to drive prices higher.
There are no quick fixes to resolve the housing crisis and developers that are granted consent for their private schemes are only part of the larger answer, if we are to provide our area with the type of housing our community desperately needs.
This Council believes:
1. The Government needs to provide greater clarity on terminology around housing, particularly what constitutes being ‘genuinely affordable housing’. The Government must explore how more affordable housing can be secured through Land Value Capture and reforming viability assessments.
2. Targets and policy around house building, must be focused on seeking to reduce the housing waiting list and reduce the number of local people currently in temporary accommodation and deliver family sized housing units, most keenly needed.
3. Shared Ownership schemes are not a top priority for Brent Council, but do form a valuable part of an overall housing mix, as they allow some people to get onto the housing ladder when they otherwise would not be able to afford a full deposit.
4. We should never make the perfect enemy of the good in housing policy whilst holding developers accountable and ensuring that a greater proportion of new stock built in our borough is genuinely affordable for local people.
This Council resolves to:
1. Lobby the government to simplify its terminology on affordable housing in order to give greater clarity across council communications.
2. Call on the Government to address Land Value Capture and viability assessments to enable Brent to secure at least our Local Plan targets for Social Rents, London Affordable Rent, London Living Rent and Affordable Rent.
3. Continue to work with the GLA and DLUHC to secure the funding needed to ensure all new developments must seek to provide as much social housing as is financially viable.
4. Continue to push Brent’s Local Plan target of 50% affordable housing, with a split of 70% low cost rent and 30% intermediate housing, in order to ensure we are building the homes our community really needs.
5. Play our part in addressing the housing crisis across London, by driving up the supply of housing in every ward in Brent.”
Publication date: 28/11/2022
Date of decision: 21/11/2022
Decided at meeting: 21/11/2022 - Council