Many thanks to Kempston resident Andrew Peet (T&C 1 May) for raising the issue of affordable housing. I’m very glad to inform him that this will be a priority if Labour wins the next general election.
Ed Miliband has recently proposed several measures to help “generation rent” – the 9 million people now living in privately rented homes in Bedford & Kempston and across the nation. Private tenants have faced an average 13% increase in rent since 2010.
At the moment many tenancies last just six months, giving tenants and their families very little security. Miliband has pledged to make three-year tenancy agreements the norm. Landlords will only be able to terminate contracts if a tenant falls into arrears or is guilty of anti-social behaviour; or if the landlord wants to sell the property or needs it for their family. This is to prevent landlords from terminating tenancy agreements just so they can put up rents.
Labour will also help those in Bedford & Kempston and across the UK who wish to buy their own homes by building one million new homes over the life of the next Parliament. Under Labour’s plans, councils will be empowered to compulsorily purchase land or charge fees if developers fail to build on land for which they have planning permission.
Last but not least, Labour will help social housing tenants by abolishing the Government’s notorious “bedroom tax” which is inefficient and unfair, and which penalises disabled people in particular.
Cllr James Valentine, Kempston Central & East
Letters Page, Times & Citizen, 8 May 2014.