No housing for social rent built in Oldham for seven years

After Oldham Council has accepted that no houses have been built for social rent in the borough in the last seven years, Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing Sam Al-Hamdani called it ‘a betrayal of the needs of the poor, and the Government’s claims about levelling up’.

He said: “When people talk about what is needed in Oldham, they want housing that people can afford. Unfortunately, the Government has hijacked the term ‘affordable housing’, which they have defined as anything that is rented or sold at 20% below the market rate for that area.

“What most people actually want to see more of are the homes defined as for ‘social rent’, in Government language, which in Oldham would normally be at around 50% of the market rate, and which is retained by local authorities or registered social landlords. That is the housing we need, and that is the housing we are not getting.”

Recent developments in Oldham have seen energy efficient homes developed at Primrose Bank and Holly Bank, which have been rented at “Local Housing Allowance Rates” which has made them much more attainable. Councillor Al-Hamdani welcomed this work and called for more like it.

He continued: “For years, the Government has blocked Oldham Council from being able to access the grants that would make social rent housing a reality, and they have now only introduced it at a reduced rate.

“Time and again, Oldham Council are not developing what we need, but time and again, the Government are asking them to operate with one hand tied behind their back. It makes a mockery of the ‘levelling-up’ agenda, and it leaves people with nowhere to go.

“This week I have been working on cases for residents, some with mental health issues and some fleeing domestic abuse, who need places to live. The end result of years of underinvestment in housebuilding is that they have nowhere to go. That needs to change.”

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