Locally, the Lib Dems made a manifesto pledge to build council homes and Bath MP Wera Hobhouse has commended their B&NES administration for pressing on with plans to build the first council housing for a generation.
However, you have got to read the exchange she had recently with neighbouring MP Jacob Rees-Mogg when she raised the matter in the House and asked how the Government planned to bridge the gap between demand for social housing and supply.
In Bath and North East Somerset, 6,000 households are on the council’s waiting list for social housing. This is a figure that they are chipping away at as the first council housing for a generation is being built in the city.
The first development has been confirmed as 117 Newbridge Hill.
Wera Hobhouse MP said:
“I’m very pleased that Bath and North East Somerset Council are delivering on their manifesto commitment and are pushing on with plans to build the first council homes in a generation. It has not been easy for the Council – the Government must have a plan for how they are to tackle this shortfall and I urged my neighbouring MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg, to call a debate on this.”
Here’s a transcript of the exchange:
Wera Hobhouse MP
“Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, across Bath and North East Somerset, 6000 households are on the social housing waiting list. Our Council, which the Leader of the House of I share, is delivering the first new social homes for rent in a generation, and we should congratulate them for that.
However, the Government is making it incredibly difficult for councils to build new social homes for rent suddenly in the numbers that we need. So can we have a full debate on the dire need of building more social homes for rent and hear what the Government is saying about actually delivering that?
Jacob Rees-Mogg MP and Leader of the House
Mr Deputy Speaker,I think the Honorable Lady has access to my diary because last week she raised the question of the Royal United Hospital, with whom I had a meeting the following day and raised some of the points she had raised with me. And tomorrow I’m having a meeting with the chief executive of Curo, which is a social housing company that I think does a really good job.
I have found in my dealings with Curro that they are consistently receptive to issues that face their tenants and quick in response. So I can obviously discuss some of the points she has raised today.
But I would say in addition to that, that the Government is committed to increasing housebuilding and actually the sheer volume of housebuilding is what ensures that there are houses for everybody, whether they are social housing, affordable housing or however they are defined we need to build more.
Which is why, in the Queen’s Speech, it was announced that there would be a Planning Bill, but I am very grateful to her for helping me with my diary management.”