18 May 2010
Matt Sellwood is the Green Party's national spokesperson on housing issues:
While many things are unknown in the current political climate, one thing now seems certain - provision of affordable housing will shrink in the coming years, just as it should be significantly expanding.
With the announcement of the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition, and the agreement of the two parties to £6 billion of immediate public sector cuts, grants to both housing associations and councils look certain to fall. This is despite the completely inadequate level of current funding, which has seen waiting lists continue to grow across the country. Rather than re-examining Labour's failed model of market cross-subsidy, the new coalition will increase the involvement of the market in housing, and condemn millions of people to continued misery in substandard accommodation.
Such cuts will not only seriously affect some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society - they will also harm our economy at a time of fragile recovery. A reduction of public subsidy into housing will slash jobs in the construction sector at exactly the time at which the government should be investing in training and public infrastructure. Such cuts, repeated across the economy, raise the spectre of a 'double dip recession', and ensure that this new coalition will not only be betraying the vulnerably housed, but also adding to the ranks of the unemployed.