Let's build a local housing company - open letter

Housing, to buy or rent by those on modest incomes, is becoming increasingly scarce across London.

But without a safe, secure and affordable home, how can anyone build a life?

A 2015 council report on the availability of housing in the borough noted that there were over 8000 people on Merton’s housing register, and that housing prices had risen by 42% and that private rents risen by 22% in the three years to 2015.  That report recommended Merton set up a “housing development company” - to build more affordable homes and create extra income for the Council, to fund local services.

I realise it takes time to set up a housing company, but if Labour Party bosses are really serious about tackling the housing crisis why is there still no money allocated to get this project up and running 2 years after it was first proposed? That is why Merton Lib Dems' Cllr Jeanes proposed an amendment to Merton Council’s budget on 1 March to use a small amount of the Council’s reserves to do just that and get the ball rolling.

However, because no other councillors – Conservative, Labour or Residents Association – formally seconded this, it couldn’t even be debated.  We know from speaking to local residents that they want action now and I urge local Labour party bosses to follow the recommendations of their own councillors, and give this project the support it needs as soon as possible. People in Merton can't live in an idea, they need affordable homes now.

Carl Quilliam, Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson, Wimbledon