LibDems accuse Ipswich Tories of hypocrisy over housing policy slogan
PUBLISHED: 16:00 22 April 2019
Ipswich Conservatives have been accused of hypocrisy by the town's Liberal Democrats over their controversial "Local Houses for Local People" housing slogan.
LibDem leader Inga Lockington said the claim by the Ipswich Conservative Association chairman John Howard that flats in his new Winerack development were proving popular with ex-pats sounded like double standards.
Mr Howard, a successful property developer responsible for many projects in the town, said of the Winerack: “We have already had a lot of interest from ex-pats from as far away as America, Asia and Europe who might be looking to buy a second home back in the UK.”
Mrs Lockington said this did not sit well with his party's policy of keeping council homes for people who already lived in the town.
She said: “I know there is a difference between council homes and private houses, but they are using that slogan and this does make it look like double standards.
“I know Mr Howard said that 'Help to buy' is available on some of the flats there – but I'm not sure that really helps first-time buyers because it tends to just push the price of homes up.
“And you have to remember is that these new homes are all part of the town's housing stock – yet some are being bought as second homes for people from outside the country.”
Mr Howard was not impressed by Mrs Lockington's criticism: “What a load of rubbish! She is clearly clutching at straws in the argument on housing.
“We are building flats that are bought by people who want to return to this country, who want to downsize and free up homes for families, and there are flats for the first-time buyer market that attract support from Help to Buy.
“This is a development that helps everyone.”
He was backed up by the Tories' group leader at the borough Ian Fisher. He said: “Don't the Liberals know the difference between private and council housing? Even if you wanted to only sell to local people, I don't think the law would allow that. This is a ridiculous criticism.”
The elections are being held on May 2 for a third of the seats at the council – the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are contesting a tight ward at St Margaret's – but it is mathematically impossible for Labour to lose power at the borough.