I think it is good to debate the "affordable" housing issue. At the start of this posting let me make a small declaration of interest as I am a planning officer (MRTPI), and part of my varied work includes affordable housing issues. I will also make clear that I think Labour's policy initiatives have helped move us forward.
I will start from a general assumption that most people would like to find solutions to the issues surrounding affordable housing. I then post (for debate) some ideas as follows, it hopefully shows I am open to ideas and ready to listen to debate :
a) So let's really kick off with some controversy -Those requiring solutions will include the developers/builders as it is not in their interest to see increasing numbers, of reasonably paid people, disconnected from the market. Some market adjustment - partly driven by policy - may result from market influence itself, (controversy 2 - is this the new Labour part of me ?)
b) Promoting demand side solutions alone (like Plaid's means tested 5k grant) is not a sensible solution given the restrictions on supply. Has anyone seen the means tests yet please ???? Estate agents must be rubbing their hands in joy.
(is this the economist bit of me ?)
c) Increasing supply will sometimes require some strong decisions in the face of NIMBY pressures,
(I speak with the planner bit of me-don't assume people welcome housing that involves affordable housing as I feel many now fear vital social housing element of affordable housing),
d) Changes to Assembly policy mean councils now already have a right to influence the mix of new development, negotiate/ require affordable housing where evidence supports action
(the planning bit of me),
e) I don't see blanket application of "locals only" policies as a sensible solution. However I read existing Assembly policy as allowing the case to be made, in certain areas, and these policies should now be used to best effect by councils. I fear people are so busy complaining they haven't read/implemented what we now have.
(the 'read/use what you have already got' bit of me)
f) in our hearts some of us would like to see a council house building programme but in our heads see no appetite on the doorstep to stump up the tax levels required (the Labour/union bit of me tempered by doorstep reality)
g) In rural areas the debate about a few people fortunate to own/obtain a plot can be a real distraction from the real issues : do rural communities want to develop the level of housing that might transform the age structure and help retain services,
h) How many of those making voiciferous complaints have used the property boom of the last 10 years to invest in further homes, buy to let and various other schemes that have restricted the supply ? (the hint of hypocrisy in me).
i) As an Assembly candidate I would be interested in using my experience (of parts of the system) to help tackle this problem.
I think Labour's manifesto and policies help in this challenge - but perhaps a new post war "homes for heroes" spirit is required - and I don't beleive "homes for locals" is anywhere near an equivalent campaign.
So what is the equivalent 21st century slogan ???? - Comments welcome.