AFTER eight years in power the Government have suddenly woken up to the fact that there is a major housing crisis.

However this week’s housing statement by the Prime Minister does little to redress the serious challenges that exist.

More planning framework reviews are promised, but clarity as to how this will result in more homes being built is still opaque.

The lack of focus on a new generation of social housing, after so much existing stock has been sold off, is still met by a resounding silence, a point I pressed at Prime Minister’s Questions this week.

The bitterly cold nights over the last few weeks have once again reminded us that no-one should live on the streets, yet the Government plans to end street homelessness by 2027, a staggering nine years away.

When homeless men and women die, on average, in their 40s, then it is no wonder that I pleaded with the Government to end street homelessness this year.

Research by the University of York’s excellent Centre for Housing Policy has highlighted how providing ‘Housing First’ and then wrapping services around a person is transformative, and has been proven to end homelessness in places like Norway, Finland and Denmark.

It just takes leadership to do this which Labour will provide.

Sadly the Tory/Lib Dem council couldn’t be more out of touch with York’s housing needs - a Local Plan which doesn’t provide the housing that York residents need, and crams any development onto the York Central site without taking into account the city’s infrastructure.

The council preside over draconian housing policies that have increased homelessness and deny overcrowded families a decent place to live. When you have a succession of constituents who explain that their whole family is crammed into a single box bedroom and the only way to find resolve is to present as homeless.

No-one chooses to be homeless or to live with instability that this brings.

Over 200 council homes have been reported as having issues with damp and mould and until Labour got involved this serious risk to the health of adults and children ensued.

The approach of the council is disgraceful.

They have refused to introduce a private landlord licensing scheme and have built luxury apartments rather than much needed starter homes to buy or rent.

Many people in York are struggling to buy or rent a property and many are being forced out to neighbouring towns which are cheaper.

This is often away from their families and friends.

As a result of this the NHS is struggling to recruit nurses and many businesses in York cannot recruit the staff they need.

Decent housing is a requirement of any community.

Eight years of Government failure on housing together with three years of an inadequate Tory-led council, means that York residents have been badly let down.

My calls for change have been made at the highest level but the council has failed to deliver, whilst the crisis has deepened.

This week I have challenged the Prime Minister to step in and ensure that York has the housing supply it needs for the future.

However, I am not confident of the outcome as the Conservatives have failed our city in every respect.

Only a Labour Government and a Labour Council will offer a real alternative to the people of York.

Labour will ensure we have the communities and homes that residents need.

We will also take immediate action to end homelessness have a zero tolerance approach with regard to any family living in substandard housing.

I’m calling time on housing failure; I hope you will stand with me as I fight for York.