Ipswich: Shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds aims to boost numbers of council houses available
12:00 09 May 2014
Labour-run Ipswich borough got the seal of approval from shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds as she visited the town to see its new generation of council homes.
And she insisted that new Labour proposals, outlined by party leader Ed Miliband, would help to make life easier for those seeking new homes to rent.
Ms Reynolds visited some of the first new council homes to be built in the town for 25 years in Coltsfoot Road before travelling to Ravenswood to see the site of a proposed development of 90 new council homes which should go up over the next three years.
She was shown the new homes by council leader David Ellesmere, who is hoping to win the Ipswich seat at the next general election. Ms Reynolds said: “These new homes are being built under legislation brought in at the end of the last Labour administration which is now being used by mainly Labour councils to ensure new affordable homes are being built,” she said.
But it was not only the supply of council homes that Labour is seeking to boost – it is also hoping to improve security of tenure for private tenants, which Ms Reynolds insisted would be good for both landlords and tenants.
She said: “Under our proposals there would be security for tenants for three years – with an increasing number of people looking to rent it is important that families have the security of knowing they can live somewhere for a reasonable time.
“There would also be restrictions on how much landlords could increase rents. But this is not a return to 1970s-style rent controls.”
She said Labour was using the kind of rules that operated in the Republic of Ireland, which had led to a growth in the private rental sector.
Ms Reynolds also said it was vital to encourage more housebuilding – up to 200,000 new homes a year.
“Ultimately the housing shortage can only be solve by building new homes, whether for people to own or for rent, and there needs to be an acceptable balance between those sectors.”