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Darren visits new housing in Lawrence Weston

Bristol North West MP Darren Jones visited Curo’s site at Corbet Close in Lawrence Weston last week to find out more about the organisation’s plans to build 57 much-needed new affordable homes in the area.

The local MP was accompanied on the site visit by Curo Managing Director, Gerraint Oakley, and the project team. The development will provide one, two and three bedroom homes for social and affordable rent, as well as a number of homes for shared ownership.

Curo submitted its planning application in August and is anticipating the new homes could be completed by the end of 2021 if granted consent by Bristol City Council. Corbet Close along with Curo’s other proposed development in Lawrence Weston – for 128 homes at Henacre Road – could see the addition of 185 new homes in total for the area, of which 95 will be affordable housing.

Darren said:

” These developments will help more families from Lawrence Weston to stay in or return to the community they love and where they grew up. I am pleased that more than half of the new homes proposed by Curo will be available as affordable housing – these homes will benefit people who are on the council’s housing list. I grew up in Lawrence Weston and I’m delighted to see investment in housing in this area – these developments and others like it will not only create new housing that is urgently needed in Bristol, they’ll also deliver growth in the local economy. Housing Associations are key partners in delivering our city’s target of 2,000 new homes per year by 2020″.

Gerraint Oakley said: “We’re keen to work with the council and other partners to create even more new housing in Bristol and look forward to be able to start building both at Henacre Road and Corbet Close. We’d like to thank Darren Jones MP for taking the time to visit our site and find out more about our developments which will benefit the whole area – including our existing tenants at Corbet Close, who will enjoy better external communal areas, improved security and amenities.”

©Barbara Evripidou/FirstAvenuePhotography.com

 

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Darren continues to call on government to back new social housing

On 31st July, Darren signed a letter calling on the Government to urgently release their much-delayed Social Housing Green Paper before the housing crisis continued to spiral out of control.

Following pressure and since that date, the government has released the Green Paper, but it is lacking in detail and funding of how social housing demand will meet supply. Darren has therefore signed another cross-party letter calling on the government to act.

Darren said:

“I am pleased the government have finally got on, bowed to pressure and released this much-promised Green Paper but to be frank it is hugely lacking in any great detail (and funding!) on how to resolve the nation’s housing crisis. This is because it is quite clear, the main way to resolve the years of under-investment in, and priority given to, council and social housing is to build more of it and quickly!

Whole swathes of working Britain can’t afford their rent let alone think about buying a home for their family. Everyone should be entitled to a safe, secure and warm home – in today’s austerity Britain this is feeling far too much like a luxury not a human right.

Whilst Bristol City Council is working hard to buck the trend and build housing at an affordable rent, I once again urge the government to invest in council and social housing and give councils and housing associations the full support and funding they need to ensure those in unsecure housing, in hostels and temporary accommodation,  struggling with high rent, sofa surfing and rough sleeping have the possibility of a home in the future. Not to do so is a neglect of their duty”.

You can follow Darren’s work on housing here.

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Darren comments on Rough Sleeping Strategy

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones shared his views following the release of the government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy on 13 8 18.

Darren said:

” It’s all too little, too late and as anyone who visits our city centre knows it unfortunately won’t slow down the increasing numbers of people driven onto the streets by the government’s austerity politics and cuts to the support available to the most vulnerable. I anticipate Universal Credit, now rolling out across Bristol, will only make matters worse.

The government need to urgently assess the impact their cuts are having across the whole public, voluntary and charitable sphere and stop this political experiment – it isn’t working! This strategy fails to address the root causes of rough sleeping – the starting point for this, and the Social Housing Green Paper, should have been a significant increase in the number of social properties built alongside dramatically improved access to mental health care, employment support and training, security for private renters and substance misuse services“.

 

 

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Darren signs letter calling for Social Housing green paper to be published

1.16 million households are on Social Housing waiting lists, but the Government have delayed their publication of a Social Housing green paper. With private rentals increasingly expensive this is urgently needed.

Darren signed a letter calling on the Government to provide details of when this will be published. He was one of 35 strong, cross-party group of MPs, showing the strength of feeling about this issue.

 

 

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Darren backs Crisis ‘Everybody In’ campaign

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has added his pledge to the new Crisis ‘Everybody In’ campaign which seeks to end street homelessness.

Darren said:

” Housing is the number one issue in my inbox – I know how it feels to have people come to me for help when they’re in fear of eviction, suffering in unsuitable temporary accommodation, sleeping on other people’s floors or in their cars, or even sleeping rough out in Bristol North West – this is totally unacceptable in modern Britain.

We see more and more people sleeping in doorways in our city centre – I know that something needs to be done and the government must act to increase house building and support local authorities and organisations that help vulnerable people. That’s why I’m backing the Crisis Campaign, that launched on Monday 11th June, to end homelessness in the UK.

The recent announcement by the council of £600,000 funding to support Bristol’s homeless is a great start but that alone won’t solve the rising number of rough sleepers in Bristol and further afield.

I have pledged my support to do what I can to end homelessness and my message will soon appear on the Crisis website”.

You can find out more about Crisis’ campaign to end homelessness here.

#EverybodyIn

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Darren welcomes funding to support homeless

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has praised Bristol City Council’s successful application for £600,000 funding to support homeless people across the city.

Darren said:

“Well done to the team at the council for successfully bringing £600,000 funding to support Bristol’s homeless.

I think we all know this money alone won’t solve the rising homelessness, caused in large part by government-imposed austerity, but this will fund a much-needed cold weather shelter and support services and is just one part of the council’s strategy to reduce homelessness.

Building affordable housing, such as the council’s project in Henbury which will be a 100% affordable development, is also a great step in the right direction. Projects like Henbury, and the new housing in Lawrence Weston, will help to support those waiting on the council’s housing list who may be at risk of homelessness or suffering in suitable or overcrowded accommodation”.

You can read more about the council’s funding success here.
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Darren backs Bill to help make rented homes safer in Bristol

Darren Jones MP showed his support for renters in Bristol on Friday 19 January 2018, when he attended the Second Reading of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill.

The Bill, which was been brought forward by MP Karen Buck, gives renters in Bristol, and across the country, the right to take their landlord to court over unsafe and poor housing conditions.

More than 99,000 homes in the South West have a hazard in their rented home which poses a “serious and immediate risk to health and safety”, according to the recent official statistics. This is the equivalent of 1 in 8 rented homes in the South West.

The ‘Fitness for Human Habitation’ Bill has cross-party support and has been backed by the government. It has also been supported by organisations across the housing sector, including Shelter, the Residential Landlords Association, the National Landlord Association and the National Housing Federation.

Darren Jones MP was one of many MPs on hand to see the Bill safely through its Second Reading on Friday 19th January. The Bill will now progress and be scrutinised by a Parliamentary Committee.

Darren Jones MP said:

“I’m proud to support the ‘Fitness for Human Habitation’ Bill, which will empower renters in Bristol and give them a meaningful tool for getting poor and unsafe renting conditions dealt with”.

 

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MP visits Riverside’s Jamaica Street Project

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones visited Riverside’s Jamaica Street Project on Saturday 11th November and met with the Area Manager, Centre Manager and a number of residents.  The team on-site provide support to people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, from across the Bristol area. Referrals are made to the centre by Bristol City Council with space available in self-contained flats, with dogs being accepted in a number of the apartments. Crucially, the team provide named support and work with residents to source appropriate longer-term accommodation.

The team showed Darren the accommodation on-site and talked through some of support options available to residents.

Darren said:

“It was invaluable for me to speak with residents and staff at the Riverside scheme. The team provide emergency accommodation, care and support services to some of our cities most vulnerable people. Riverside is clearly a values-driven organisation with a strong sense of social responsibility. The residents I spoke to were clear about the need for the services such as those Riverside provides, and how important these bases are to them as individuals. Housing is at breaking point with extremely high demand for social housing and with many people finding themselves unable to afford private rents, organisations such as Riverside provide vital support to people when they most need it”.

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Darren comments on foodbank use and homelessness in Bristol

A number of reports have been released this week in relation to rising foodbank use and homelessness in Bristol.

Yesterday (7th November) the Trussell Trust and North Bristol Foodbank released figures showing the continued rise in foodbank use. Data showed that 722 children required emergency food parcels and overall use of North Bristol Foodbank increased by 9% in the last 6 months.

Today (8th November) the countries leading housing charity, Shelter has released their ‘Far From Alone’ report on homelessness in Britain in 2017. Shelter has calculated that 307,000 are now homeless in Britain with 1 in every 170 people in Bristol now homeless, the highest level recorded in the city.
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Darren asks the Government how they are planning for Interest Rate rises

Any increase in mortgage rates will affect the housing costs of millions.

Darren asked the Treasury:

What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential effect of an increase in the bank rate on the number of households subject to eviction?

Stephen Barclay MP, Economic Secretary to The Treasury

 

As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Treasury’s practice to provide details of these discussions.

The Financial Conduct Authority has put in place regulations protecting borrowers, including a requirement that lenders should deal fairly with customers in payment difficulties. Lenders are also required to conduct an interest-rate ‘stress-test’ on all new mortgages. The insures against the risk of a significant increase in the number of indebted households in the case of an interest rates rise.

This would affect the housing costs of thousands of Bristol households. That’s why we need to know what the government are doing about this, and why it’s so frustrating that they won’t tell me when I asked.