Nicola spoke out in a debate in the House of Commons on the Government’s new Housing Bill about the housing situation in Oxford to highlight the high prices faced by her constituents.
The Housing Bill brings forward the Government’s ambitious programme to support the delivery of 200,000 new starter homes for first time buyers; it gives communities more power over local planning; creates a statutory register for brownfield land to support delivery of new homes on these sites; and it brings in further measures to tackle rogue landlords, all of which Nicola warmly welcomes.
During the debate on 02 November, Nicola took the opportunity to ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, about the unique situation in Oxford.
She asked as follows:
The Secretary of State is generous in giving way. I welcome many of the measures in the Bill, but following on from the comments about the exceptionalism of London, Oxford now has the most expensive housing compared to income in the country, yet the local area delivered zero affordable homes in 2013-14 and only 10 in 2014-15. It must be accepted that there are some significant local problems, so as the Bill progresses, I ask my right hon. Friend to consider how to deal with problems in such high-cost areas.
The Minister responded:
I will indeed. I have been clear about the constructive approach we intend to take, as exemplified in our dealings with housing associations. I think it is incumbent on all councils, including Labour councils, to play their part. This is an imperative for all of us in positions of political leadership to do what is needed to provide homes for the next generation.
To read the full text of the debate, see here: Hansard 02 November 2015
The Centre for Cities has shown that Oxford is the least affordable place to live in the country, and we have a real problem with finding sites to build new homes, particularly as the City Council does not have a Local Plan in place. We are trailing behind similar cities like Cambridge.
I will continue to raise this with Ministers, as well as working with our local Councils to find a way to deliver the homes we so desperately need.