Housing is the number one issue that constituents come to me about. There are currently around 4,000 empty homes in Newcastle. 99% of these are privately owned. Yet there are 4,000 people on the housing waiting list.
Privately renting tenants regularly tell me just how insecure they feel knowing they could be made to move out when their lease ends. Many have no significant period of security, even when they have lived in a house for years.
That is why I have launched a campaign to make more homes available for local people by bringing more empty properties back into use and encouraging the building of more affordable homes.
There are a number of ways we can do this. For instance, the Government is making is harder for councils to use their powers to bring empty homes back into use. Ministers have increased the time period before councils can issue an order to bring an empty home back into use from six months to two years. I will be urging them to reconsider this.
I’m proud to be the MP for a city with two great Universities, the number one city of choice for students. And I think it is part of my job to make sure they are not exploited by landlords. Certainly, the presence of 50,000 students in Jesmond, Fenham and Heaton has a big impact on the local housing market.
I will be looking at better ways to make use of the existing housing stock, and helping local people to set up self-help housing groups. I will also continue to encourage the building of new affordable homes across Newcastle and pressuring the new Housing Minister to do more.
We would love to hear your views on what we can do to get there. You can contact me and my team on the number at the top of the page, or by email at email@example.com. You can also reach us on Twitter at @ToonHomes, or write to me at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.
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Thank you, Mr Chairman.
I’m pleased to have secured this short debate today on a subject which is critically important to my constituents – Housing.
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