Key workers unable to find rental homes in Devon

“Local authorities need to be allowed to borrow to build social housing without restriction and be given government grants to help provide these homes. But the answer isn’t in simply building thousands more houses, destroying our countryside and providing housing so people from the major cities can come and live here.”

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Last week, East Devon’s MP raised a question in the Commons – which was responded to by the Prime Minister saying he’d be “certainly happy to meet colleagues to discuss what further we may do to ensure that local people get the homes that they need”:

(19) Simon Jupp MP on Twitter: “Owning a home in #EastDevon is out of reach for many local people. We must take steps to help local people have a home of their own by reforming second home ownership. My question to the Prime Minister today ⬇️ https://t.co/vgrAx4k2qY” / Twitter

Engagements: 3 Nov 2021: House of Commons debates – TheyWorkForYou

And it’s an issue raised by other MPs in the area:

Tory anger as second homes in holiday locations force out key workers | News | The Sunday Times

There is anger coming from other quarters too in East Devon:

We discovered this month that a full 70 per cent of private rental properties in Devon have been lost to the holiday rental market. Let that sink in – 70 per cent. And what was the response of Councillor John Hart, the Devon Tory leader? “Airbnb has got a lot to answer for”.

Martin Shaw: Boris dodges responsibility | Midweek Herald

With the District Council doing what it can:

Task force created to tackle affordable housing crisis – Devon Live

And further action being urged across the county:

Devon’s rental crisis deepens as available homes dwindle – Devon Live

The key point, though, is that it’s key workers who are finding it particularly difficult:

Rural Housing Week – and housing rural key workers – Vision Group for Sidmouth

A recent report from BBC shows how impossible it is in Cornwall

NHS staff unable to find rental homes in Cornwall – BBC News

With the Rural Services Network following it up with further reports:

NHS staff unable to find rental homes in Cornwall – Rural Services Network

Some effort is being made to close the gap, but it’s clearly not going to be enough:

Key worker housing to be built near Truro College and Royal Cornwall Hospital – Cornwall Live

And this is happening in Devon too, with particularly dire warnings coming this week from the north of the county:

Council leader warns of ‘winter of discontent’

“On top of that we have the shortage of housing to rent. It is no wonder that the recently formed Torridge and North Devon housing crisis Facebook group has attracted so many members. North Devon Council’s housing department is getting around forty new families a week needing help to find accommodation.
“House prices and rents have rocketed, normal lets’ have been taken off the market so that they can be used for AirBnB, properties are being brought as second homes, and developers are doing their best to wriggle out of providing so-called affordable homes.
“The whole system is out of balance and gone crazy and people are suffering. Key workers are struggling to find somewhere to live and firms are finding it difficult to attract badly needed employees. The government needs to bring in legislation which gives more power to the councils to take action to readdress the situation and bring more stability.
“Local authorities need to be allowed to borrow to build social housing without restriction and be given government grants to help provide these homes. But the answer isn’t in simply building thousands more houses, destroying our countryside and providing housing so people from the major cities can come and live here.”

Council leader warns of winter of discontent for North Devon | North Devon Gazette

   
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