The new Housing Minister is to visit Eastbourne later this year to look into the housing situation in the town.
MP Caroline Ansell requested Gavin Barwell come and see what the council is doing upon his appointment by Theresa May last week.
Caroline has also responded to a call made by Cllr Alan Shuttleworth in regards to a Government Act, which he says will see a portion of the town’s social houses sold off each year, to fund a scheme to help more people to buy their own home – something he says has only been taken up by 1% of housing associations across the country. Cllr Shuttleworth wants to see the Act repealed and has called on Mrs Ansell to intervene in Parliament.
In response, Caroline has said, “It is disappointing Cllr Shuttleworth only engages through the press on housing matters when all he has to do is call to arrange a meeting where we can discuss this important issue in a more constructive manner.
“I think people might come to the conclusion he is political grandstanding rather than attempting to work with Eastbourne’s MP for the good of residents.
“I support the principle of the new act which is fundamentally about allowing more people to own their own home. A lack of home ownership is one of the top drivers of social inequality and I’m sure Cllr Shuttleworth would welcome anything that can help this.
“The fact is nearly all councils have high value properties that could be sold to fund tenants’ right to buy and help them onto the property ladder.
“There is, of course, legitimate concerns over how social housing fits into this scheme and I share some of them.
“Important concessions were won during the Housing and Planning debate, one of which is the government's commitment to re-providing one affordable home for every property sold.
“Decisions around housing are sometimes complex and not always popular with everyone as I am sure my predecessor Stephen Lloyd felt when he voted through the spare room subsidy - or bedroom tax - in the last parliament.
I am pleased to confirm the new Housing Minster, Gavin Barwell, appointed just last week, has already agreed to my request to come to Eastbourne to see what the council is doing. We are currently planning the visit and anticipate it will be in September.”