Kent Green Party is concerned that some key issues may not receive much attention in the local elections, before voting on Thursday 5th May. Steve Dawe comments on housing:
“Given the poor record of recent Governments on housing, it is not surprising that it rarely gets a mention in election leaflets of the three largest parties. We have over 36,000 households on council waiting lists in Kent and Medway, whilst about 22,000 homes and about 6000 empty industrial buildings lie empty. Add to these long-term empty shopfronts and spaces in industrial estates, and there is a potential programme to meet social need and radically reduce unemployment.
“Kent Green Party suggests voters contact their candidates to ask what their party intends to do about housing need. When doing so, the issue of housing quality should be raised. Many homes are not adequately insulated and most do not have renewable energy technologies fitted. As Green councillors have shown, insulating homes helps save money for residents(1).
“Kent and Medway will also experience long-term decline in access to housing benefit for households, leading to what can only be described as ‘social cleansing’ as the poorest families are denied housing benefit and priced out of their rented homes(2).
“It is a matter of concern that the Government is cutting future housing standards by reducing commitments for Zero Carbon housing(2). With 4 million people countrywide on council house waiting lists, a Coalition cut in spending on housing of 50% means continuing over-crowding and misery(3).”
FURTHER INFORMATION: Steve Dawe on 01732 355185 or 07747 036192. Contact address as above. Published by Kent Green Party and promoted by H.Dawe, both at 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF.
1. On Kirklees council, the Warm Front project led to 9000 homes filled with cavity wall insulation, and 18 000 homes with loft insulation, over the last two years. The Kirklees scheme reduced heating bills for residents by an average of £150 a year per home and made a huge dent in fuel poverty. The scheme also put unemployed builders back into work - it has created an estimated 200 jobs locally - and cuts carbon emissions. The long-term benefits mean Kirklees Council is saving people £4.5 million a year.
See: .http://www.greenparty.org.uk/region/yorkshireandhumber/news/Kirklees-energy-and-money-savings-for-free.html and http://www.greenparty.org.uk/region/yorkshireandhumber/news/three-more-years-free-insulation-for-huddersfield-and-area.html Also, solar PV panels can cut electricity bills for households.
2. Shelter research report: Sam Lister, Liam Reynolds and Kate Webb – The Impact of Welfare Reform Bill measures on affordability for low income private renting families: http://england.shelter.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/334726/Impact_of_Welfare_Reform_Bill_measures_on_affordability_for_low_income_private_renting_families.pdf SEE: particularly the Technical Appendix pp41-42 for dates when rent affordability becomes critical in each part of Kent and Medway.
3. WWF-UK has resigned from a taskforce tasked with greening British homes in protest over the government's decision to water down its Zero Carbon Homes standard. WWF accused the government of rendering the taskforce "effectively useless" by making the decision without consultation with stakeholders.