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Scarborough Councillor Hits Out At Labour Housing Claims

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Published by Alex Taylor at 1:05pm 25th September 2018. (Updated at 6:42am 26th September 2018)

"There ARE new houses being built and there ARE opportunities out there."

That's the call from Scarborough Borough Councillor Bill Chatt, Cabinet Member for Housing, as he took exception to comments made by Scarborough and Whitby Labour Parliamentary candidate, Hugo Fearnley. 

Speaking at the party's annual conference in Liverpool yesterday (Monday 24 September), Mr. Fearnley said:

"We have close to 2,500 people on the housing waiting list in Scarborough Borough, this must be urgently addressed.

Shamefully, the Tories are doing nothing to remedy this situation, having built precisely zero homes for social rent."

Councillor Chatt, who is an Independent, said:

"His statement that there's been no housing built is actually factually wrong. Over the last five years, between 2013-2018, there's been a total of 656 new affordable homes developed across the borough. 

Over 80% of these homes have been for rent. It amazes me that were only talking a few months ago about Scarborough Borough delivering 203% of the expectation of new homes as laid out by the government.

We've delivered one of the highest in the country, yet still Mr. Fearnley decides that this is not right and we should be doing more. 

I really fail to see how much more we can do at this time."

It's not the first time Labour has made these claims about housing in the borough. In July, Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey claimed that "not a single new social rented home was built in this area last year."

Responding at the time, Councillor Chatt said that "142 new affordable social housing was developed in the Borough in 2017."

Last month, information provided by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, showed that the borough was in fact exceeding its estimates for building new homes under current government policy. 

Mr. Fearnley Tweeted in response to Councillor Chatt's claims:

Councillor Chatt responded:

"Well yes technically he is right,the government stopped using social rent. But as Scarborough use rents that are aligned to housing benefit in our area, we don’t use social rent levels for that reason.

As I said technically he’s right based on just that type of housing but our housing is delivering new homes too rent.

And that is something this council is making very good progress delivering.

Other parts of the country like London would have a big differential but in Scarborough social housing rents are lower then private rents.

I have asked for that difference from the officers, a home for rent is a home. Would he rather we stopped delivering?"

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

'Scarborough Needs More Social Housing'

Shadow Housing Secretary Wrong on Scarborough Social Housing

Scarborough Exceeding New Homes Estimates

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