16% social housing in Barking and Dagenham Council not good enough

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GMB CALL ON BARKING AND DAGENHAM LABOUR COUNCILLORS AND LABOUR MPS TO INSIST THAT SOCIAL HOMES TARGET FOR BE FIRST REGENERATION BE INCREASED FROM 16% TO 50% IN LINE WITH LABOUR POLICY TO HOUSE LOWER PAID WORKERS 

That 84% of the new homes planned by Be First Regeneration will be priced out of the reach of lower paid workers is an act of calculated cynicism by the well paid out of touch elite in charge, says GMB London 

GMBthe union for staff at Barking and Dagenham Council, is calling on Labour Councillors and Labour MPs in the borough to call in the plans of the council owned Be First Regeneration to produce a minimum of 9,700 new homes by 2023 of which just over 16% will be social or affordable homes.

Labour Party national policy is that the majority of new homes over the next few years should be genuinely social housing.

Be First Regeneration business plan states Be First aims to produce a minimum of 9,700 new homes in Barking and Dagenham by 2023. This number of 9,700 will include1,600 affordable houses.

Last week GMB London slammed the decision by Barking and Dagenham Council to approve the demolition of Crown House in Barking to build 396 homes of which just above 10% are social housing. The plans were approved at Barking Town Hall on Monday 18th March. [See notes to editors for the GMB press release on this plus previous GMB releases.]

The week before GMB called on the council to explain why the accounts for Be First Regeneration Ltd for March 2018 were not filed at companies house and why the company had faced the first step in being struck off. [See notes to editors for the GMB press release on this.]

Warren Kenny, GMB Regional Secretary, said:

“Last week the go ahead for Crown House development with just 10% social housing by the council was not a one off. In fact a study of the business plan for Be First Regeneration Ltd shows that this wholly owned subsidiary of the council plans that just 16% of the 9,700 new homes to be built by 2023 will be social housing.

“This is way out of line with the policy set out by the Labour Party nationally that the majority of the new homes planned to be built over ten years should be genuinely social housing.

“There are already 7,000 people in the borough on the housing waiting list, up from 4,587 last year, plus thousands of lower paid workers in the private buy-to-let housing sector where taxpayers funds are used to pay sky high rents.

“GMB is calling on Labour Councillors and the Labour Party MPs in the borough to call in the plans of the council owned Be First Regeneration Ltd for social housing. These elected councillors and MPs have to insist that the Barking and Dagenham owned Be First Regeneration Ltd development vehicle substantially increases the target for social housing up to the Labour Party policy aim.

“Members of the Labour Party and trades unions members have to ensure that the needs of local people for genuine social housing is given a much higher priority by Barking and Dagenham council and councillors.

“GMB seriously objects to this drip drip dispossession of lower paid workers from housing in London boroughs as illustrated by campaigns on estates facing demolition to be replaced by mainly luxury homes for sale. It is high time to call a halt and to insist that elected Labour Party people follow the policies of the Party.

“That 84% of the new homes planned by Be First Regeneration will be priced out of the reach of the lower paid workers is an act of calculated cynicism by the well paid out of touch elite in charge.”

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