Houses are not just places to live, they are homes, and good quality homes create stronger communities. However, it is a growing concern for many families, both in Bury and across the UK, that housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable.
This can be seen most in the growing homelessness crisis across Greater Manchester since 2010. In Bury, there has been a 79% increase in the number of people presenting to the Council as homeless over the past seven years.
Bury Labour is therefore committed to doing all it can to increase the supply of affordable housing in our Borough, prioritising building on brownfield sites.
1. Build new homes to be let at both social and affordable rents, including Extra Care schemes for our growing ageing population.
2. Protect the Greenbelt: Work with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to significantly reduce the level of Greenbelt lost as part of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework. We will do this by continuing to pursue a brownfield first policy and focus on the regeneration of our Town Centres which will include residential development.
3. Empty Properties: Continue investing in the re-introduction of empty properties into the market at affordable rents. So far, we have brought back into use almost 300 long-term empty properties through this policy.
4. More Affordable Housing: We will ensure that 25% of units on larger developments are made available at affordable levels. So far, this policy has led to 253 affordable properties being built across Bury.
5. Promote town centre living:and support Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s Town Centre Challenge, which aims to regenerate towns by introducing new mixed housing, retail and leisure sites in town centres.
6. Tackle Homelessness: Develop a “homelessness friendly” scheme in Bury to encourage public, voluntary or private organisations to treat those without a permanent home with compassion and support. We will also create a homelessness information card that details the rights of homeless people to access services and where they can find support.
7. Build a homeless action partnership of public sector, third sector organisations, voluntary groups, faith communities and housing providers to work as one and focus on early intervention and prevention.
Bury Labour wants to see energy efficient, environmentally friendly houses in Bury in order to tackle fuel poverty across the Borough which currently affects one in ten homes. By utilising renewable and cheaper ways of heating our homes we can help lift people out of fuel poverty.
1. Promote the Big Clean Energy Switch to encourage residents to use lower cost, renewable energy providers. On average residents can save up to £300 on their energy bills each year.
2. Create energy efficient homes: Fund the installation of modern, efficient boilers and cavity wall insulation in fuel poverty households.
3. Green energy production: Support the creation of a Greater Manchester green energy company.
Finally, we know that there is a growing need to take action against rogue landlords and low standard-high cost private rented housing. More and more of our residents now live in this sector but it remains largely unregulated. If we are to truly make every house a home, we must find ways of protecting tenants and driving up standards, whilst also making it an affordable option for residents.
1. Introduce a Landlords’ Charter to tackle rogue landlords but also to offer advice and support from the Council to responsible landlords.
2. Use the Rogue Landlords Database to highlight landlords convicted of offences.
3. Establish an online forum to allow tenants to raise issues,concerns and complaints about landlords.
There are many other policies that we believe need to be introduced in Bury but current legislation does not allow us to implement.
Therefore, alongside the above pledges, we will lobby for:
1. An end to “land banking”, the practice of holding back land with potential for housing in order to drive up prices. We believe there should be a “use it or lose it” approach.
2. Additional planning powers to ensure that developments are finished as soon as possible once permission is granted, rather than be drawn out over many years.
3. More Devolved powers to Greater Manchester for more robust regulation of private landlords, the introduction of rent caps and restriction on the Right to Buy in areas of greatest need for affordable housing.
4. Life Public Sector Borrowing Cap: Removal of restrictions on Local Authorities so that they can borrow specifically to build new Council houses, protected from Right to Buy sales.