Housing crisis must be first item on desk of new West Yorkshire mayor, says MP Jon Trickett

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The shortage of affordable housing and the rising cost of buying a home must be the first item on the desk of the new West Yorkshire Mayor when they take office next year, an MP has claimed.

Jon Trickett, Labour MP for Hemsworth and a former leader of Leeds City Council, has written to the Prime Minister demanding urgent action over what he describes as West Yorkshire’s housing crisis.

He says that while house prices in Yorkshire have increased by 53 per cent in a decade for first-time buyers, the average wage has not increased, with the demand for housing meaning prices are “far outstripping the growth in people’s incomes”.

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Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett. Pic Tony JohnsonHemsworth MP Jon Trickett. Pic Tony Johnson
Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett. Pic Tony Johnson

Mr Trickett added that there had been a decline in home ownership locally and more people are now looking for rented accommodation. He says there has also been an “alarming increase in people on local housing waiting lists”.

In Wakefield alone, since 2017, there are just under 30,000 households on the housing waiting list, a 44 per cent increase since 2017, and nearly 80,000 households on the waiting list across West Yorkshire.

Mr Trickett said: “It is not acceptable that a whole generation of West Yorkshire folk are being denied access to a decent home as they start to make their way in the world.

“I have written to the Prime Minister about this matter which must be the first item on the desk of the new West Yorkshire Mayor when they take office next year.”

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Mr Trickett, a Shadow Cabinet Minister under former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who has since been consigned to the back benches, is understood to be considering standing to be West Yorkshire mayor.

A number of people have already put themselves forward to be Labour’s candidate, including Batley & Spen MP Tracy Brabin and former Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff.

Bradford council leader Susan Hinchcliffe is also understood to be planning to run, while no Conservative candidates have yet put themselves forward.

Earlier this month, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced more details about the Government’s £12.2bn investment in affordable housing after it was unveiled in the Budget in March.

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The Government says a new £11.5bn Affordable Homes Programme will be delivered over five years from 2021 to 2026, providing up to 180,000 new homes, should economic conditions allow.

The programme will unlock a further £38bn in public and private investment in affordable housing and new homes will be made available from next year.

Ministers have also announced that around half of the new homes created will be available for affordable home ownership, helping even more people to get a foot on the housing ladder.

In order to support people from all backgrounds, the rest will be made available for discounted rent, including 10 per cent for supported housing – to support those with physical or mental health challenges.

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A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government said: “This week’s announcement represents the highest single funding commitment to affordable housing in a decade and is part of our comprehensive plans to build back better.

“This government is helping hard-working families and prospective first-time buyers get their feet on the housing ladder in an affordable way.

“Thanks to the range of flexible ownership options being made available, more families across the country will be able to realise their dreams of owning their own home, with half of these homes being made available for ownership.”

Whoever is elected as West Yorkshire’s first metro mayor next May will have a host of powers to dictate housing policy as well as extra funding from government, such as £67m from the Government’s Brownfield Fund to invest in priority housing and development sites.

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The mayor will also have powers to buy and sell land to build houses, carry out compulsory purchases and create mayoral development corporations to take on planning responsibilities in key areas of the county.

So far, outside London, similar bodies have only been set up in South Tees and Stockport in Greater Manchester.

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