'Why isn't the council building more homes that local people can afford?' is one of the things I get asked the most. Often this is followed by a question on why we are only building homes for students. Both are fair questions, and housing is undoubtedly the biggest issue facing the city today.
If the staff our companies, shops, and public services need can't afford to live here or anywhere close, what is going to happen?
Thousands are on our housing waiting lists, dozens are sleeping rough. House prices went up by 11% in the past year and despite a council policy stating that 40% of new homes should be affordable, none are. Even the 'affordable' units are priced at 80% of market value, well out of the reach of most.
Some 4,000 people move to the city from London each year, as evidenced by the Brighton property fairs held in the capital on a regular basis. The private rented sector is costly and competitive.So we are tackling this on a whole range of fronts.
Volunteer campaigners were out last weekend finding out if letting agents are displaying their fees and charges, as they are required to do. In the coming year we will work with landlords on a regulatory regime that weeds out the ones who have bad practices, practices that harm the reputation of landlords and the lives of tenants.
In the coming weeks we will be putting plans for Â£14 million worth of new council homes in front of our planning committee, including 57 new homes approved just this week.Â Around the same time we are bringing together dozens of agencies, charities, and organisations that work with rough sleepers to co-ordinate and focus work on getting people into safe accommodation and off the streets.
The major projects announced over the winter will deliver thousands of new homes across the city, and we will look to take funds in lieu of the nominally affordable units in those schemes to invest in a bold and unique new effort to provide genuinely affordable homes.
We will in the coming months put forward proposals to set up a joint venture with a major housing association, one that will invest in over 1,000 homes that people can rent or buy at 40% of the national living wage, and crucially with protection from right to buy. These will be aimed at key workers, local people setting out on their careers, the people our city needs to house. I've been proud to call this city my home all my life, now I want to help make it a home for as many of those people as we can.
The headline in this article was incorrect in the print version. We apologise to Warren Morgan for the error.