Housing is one of the most important issues in this constituency. I know people don’t like it when Labour politicians talk about the problems caused by the last Conservative Government! But the truth is we’re still dealing with their failed legacy on housing: their failure to build new council houses to replace the ones people bought, and their failure to invest in maintaining the houses that remained at a decent standard.
In stark contrast, Labour has put huge investment into repairing and refurbishing rented social housing in this area. Millions of pounds have been spent on putting in new kitchens and bathrooms, tackling damp and improving insulation.
We’re now also starting to build new social housing. In January, the Government announced £2.5m for Leicester Council to build more homes, including £1m to build 23 new houses on Birkenshaw Road in New Parks. Many of these will be 2 or 3 bedroom family homes and all of them will be energy efficient. As part of this scheme, the Council will also offer new jobs and apprenticeships for local people.
I think this is brilliant news, but it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the scale of the task. That’s why I’m campaigning for schemes like the one on Birkenshaw Road across Leicester West, in the communities that most need them.
I also want to make sure people who own their own home get help through the recession. The current repossession rate is running at half that of the last recession, because of the action the Government has already taken. But we absolutely can’t afford to be complacent. That’s why last month’s announcement that homeowners in Leicester will get more help and advice is really welcome.