Sir – While there is a shortage of homes that people can afford, tackling this issue will be a priority of the Labour Ipswich Borough Council. Our decision to build new council houses for rent was an easy and obvious one to take. It has long-since been clear to us that ‘the market’ alone doesn’t and cannot meet the need.
And, it seems, now that the message is getting through to others. The warnings of the housing crisis from across the spectrum –from Shelter to the National Housing Federation – have been loud and clear for some time. At last, there is evidence of recognition of the problem on the part of Conservative councillors and councils in other parts of Suffolk (EADT, 30 May).
Cllr Christopher Hudson, Tory councillor on Suffolk Coastal District Council, has said that housing in some towns and villages has ‘become too expensive for most people to afford’, adding that ‘we are almost ethnically cleansing people out of some places, such as Framlingham and Aldeburgh, forcing people who cannot afford homes to move to Ipswich’. He has voiced his support for ‘affordable housing being top of Suffolk Coastal District Council’s priorities’ and said that ‘it is necessary to take action and drive this forward across the county’. Hear, hear! to all that.
This awakening to the need for affordable homes is most welcome if somewhat belated. But it flies in the face of Tory Government housing policies, the latest example being the widely-condemned proposal to reduce the number of affordable homes for rent by forcing housing associations, against their better judgment, to sell some of their homes and requiring councils to sell some of theirs to help meet the cost of the discounts which will fall on taxpayers.
Cllr Hudson is also a councillor on Suffolk County Council and has been given responsibility to lead on matters affecting Ipswich. We hope that he will see from an Ipswich perspective what he has described as ‘ethnic cleansing’ from Aldeburgh, and be willing to commend to his colleagues in other parts of the County Ipswich Borough Council’s approach to the housing crisis.
Cllr John Mowles and Cllr Sandra Gage,
Housing Portfolio Holder and Deputy, Ipswich Borough Council