Haringey Lib Dems launch flagship housing policy ahead of local elections
PUBLISHED: 19:43 01 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:56 02 February 2018
The Liberal Democrat Party in Haringey has fired the first salvo ahead of local elections by pledging £148million towards housing.
The party announced its flagship policy earlier today promising to build council and affordable housing if it wins power in May.
It said a housing company 100 percent owned by a Lib Dem run council would invest an initial £148m into building new homes. It pledged to give priority to people in Haringey “rather than to the highest bidder”.
Lib Dem Deputy leader Cllr Liz Morris said: “Our plan would deliver desperately needed council-owned homes compared to Labour’s HDV plan that would rip the heart out of communities, fail to protect residents and prioritises private gain over need.
“We want better housing for people. We will do this with development taking place at a local level, keeping it 100pc council-owned, and taking the community with us. We believe it’s time to build more council housing as well as homes that are truly affordable,” she added.
Haringey’s current opposition party says its plan will put an end to the Labour-run council’s HDV scheme, which if it were to continue in the next administration the Lib Dems say would see council homes demolished and £2billion worth of council assets “gambled” in a deal with developer Lendlease.
However, in a terse response a spokeswoman for the Hornsey and Wood Green Labour Party (H&WG LP) said: “The HDV is now off the table.”
The Lib Dems vowed profits generated by the council-owned company would be ploughed back into improving existing homes besides building more.
According to the party, which currently has eight councillors, the model has been trialled successfully across the UK, including by Sutton, a Lib Dem run borough.
The party cited a report by the Smith Institute which found local housing companies offer councils a ‘triple dividend’ of extra housing, greater oversight and a financial return.
The £148m is made up of £62m from the Greater London Authority (GLA) under the local housing zone scheme; £30m headroom from Haringey Council’s Housing revenue account; £22.8m from right-to-buy receipts from the sale of council homes, and £33m from the scrapping of a proposed new HQ.
The policy forms a key manifesto pledge ahead of May 3 when voters go to the polls. The H&WG LP spokeswoman said: “Haringey Labour will agree and publish its manifesto after discussion and consultation with members.”