The national housing crisis has particular relevance to Stroud and is a key issue in Chris Jockel's campaign for election to parliament in 2015. The following is an excerpt from a speech he made at his campaign launch on October 17th 2014:
"As the local housing allocation is about to be announced it seems timely to speak of some home truths.
There is a housing crisis in the UK. A crisis in planning, a crisis in affordability, a crisis in access and a crisis in the standard of our housing.
After thirty years of a disastrous housing policy, the cost of buying a home, renting a home and running a home is increasing much much faster than wages. When interest rates rise, hundreds of thousands are likely to face dispossession. 60,000 households - perhaps 200,000 people - are in temporary accommodation, and there are many homeless - while in the order 1 million houses lie empty and unused.
Ordinary hard working people, I’m sorry I meant to say ‘over worked and hard up people’, have to stretch themselves to breaking point to buy a home. The many who can’t buy are subject to high and increasing rents in short term, with often insecure or unequal tenancy agreements.
Our housing stock is amongst the worst quality in Europe. For millions - the elderly, the poor and the disabled - meeting the energy costs of running a home can mean the choice between eating and staying warm – fuel poverty. This is not just causing personal misery and ill health, but also resulting in an unnecessary call on our national health service. It doesn’t have to be this way.
I said that the crisis is a result of 30 years of misrule and neglect. The current coalition government’s policies have made things much worse by attacking the poor through housing benefit and the bedroom tax. Their latest 'Help to Buy’ scheme is truly bonkers, market fundamentalism gone mad and a short term fix of the worst kind which will stimulate further house price inflation and making the situation worse now, and into the future.
Our fundamental need for a secure and affordable home has been traded in for private, corporate and bank profit. It’s a big scam. A rouse in which the majority do and will continue to lose.
The big secret is that it’s not just shameful, divisive and expensive, it’s also just plain stupid.
It really, really doesn’t have to be this way. Don’t believe (though honourable professions all) any politician, economist, mortgage broker, banker or landlord or estate agent who tells you that it does. There is better smarter and greener way.
The Green Party’s policies on housing are based on defending the need of people, of us, of your children, for a secure and affordable home; the need for healthy and resilient communities and the need to address the long term challenges and opportunities facing all households – facing all of us - in the 21st Century in the process.
I’d like to share with you an outline of our Housing for Stroud and other districts. Our policy is to:
The fundamental human need for access to a secure and affordable home has been traded in for private, corporate and bank profit.
Enough is enough. There is a Better, Smarter and Greener way. Its not radical it’s just common sense. Don’t let anybody you tell you otherwise."
Video courtesy of Stroud Community TV