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Liberal Democrats call on Canterbury council to build social housing

January 1, 2019 11:43 AM

Canterbury City Council hasn't built a single council house for seven years. According to the council's own figures the number of new affordable* homes becoming available each year is less than 90 - well below the council's target of 240.

At the same time around 2,500 individuals and families are stuck on the waiting list for housing, many in unsuitable or temporary accommodation. The human cost of the situation is felt particularly keenly at Christmas when families sharing one-bedroom flats and people housed miles away from friends and family struggle to enjoy what should be the most wonderful time of year.

Jessica has lived in a one-bedroom flat for five years. She shares her bed with her six-year-old son as there is nowhere else for him to sleep. At Christmas there was nowhere to hide presents and no space to invite anyone round. Jessica knows that the ongoing situation is increasingly taking a toll on her and her son's mental health. She is grateful for what she has as she previously lived in a hostel and she knows other families in worse situations, but she wishes the council could find her somewhere with a second bedroom.

Liberal Democrat leader Michael Dixey said: "A Lib Dem council will make housing a priority. We will immediately make funds available to begin building new social housing.

"It is insanity that the Tories are happy to spend over £9 million on a deeply unpopular multi-storey car park which will never make money, but refuse to find the cash to build social housing.

"Labour is absorbed in a perpetual state of infighting. Only the Lib Dems can provide a speedy, competent and effective solution to this housing crisis."

Local Liberal Democrats have launched a new video highlighting the severity of the housing problem in Canterbury.

Lib Dem Alex Lister who produced the video feels it's an issue that society is often unwilling to confront. "When I meet people whose lives are being ruined by this Tory council's failure to act, it fills me with a quiet rage" he said.

"It is absolutely unacceptable that somewhere like Canterbury treats people like this. Labour seem to more worried about what's going on in Israel than looking after people on our own doorstep. It will take a Lib Dem council to actually get things done."

Following significant gains in local elections across the country and a very encouraging result in the Canterbury North by-election, the Canterbury and Coastal Lib Dems will be fiercely contesting this year's council elections in May.

If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this press release, please contact Alex Lister on 07792 218 654 or Michael Dixey on 07779 024 492

*Affordable housing is rented at no more than 80% of the market rate. Affordable housing is distinct to social housing in that it is not necessarily owned by the council, but in practice the terms often both mean accommodation provided by the local authority.