LABOUR members on Stroud District Council say not enough is being done to provide homes for those who need to rent.

And they are planning to take action.

“Home ownership is unaffordable for many low to middle income families and the Tory government has completely failed to take the action needed to tackle the cause – a massive housing shortage,” said Geoff Wheeler, SDC’s Labour leader.

“Under this government, house building has fallen to its lowest levels in peacetime since the 1920s.”

Cllr Wheeler said that in Stroud district at the moment there is a shortfall of 500 dwellings a year in terms of how many people are in need of an affordable home.

Every time a new development is built the council requires the developer to make 30 per cent of the new houses affordable – but unfortunately many developers do their best to reduce the numbers, claiming they can’t afford it.

So the problem will not be solved by relying on any new private development sites coming forward – and in any case developers were not building homes where people wanted them built.

“Stroud district council is now building 150 council houses over the next 5 years as part of its £68 million renovation and construction housing programme’, said Cllr Mattie Ross, Labour chairman of the housing committee.

‘But we think the council could do much more, so Labour councillors are now looking at how this can be done.”

Cllr Ross said SDC will put together a sound business case for financing the housing - one that would provide a return for the council.

Cllr Ross added that nationally the number of homes built for social rent had fallen to 7,759 – the lowest in twenty years (and since records began).

This was a fall of 75 per cent from 2009/10.

Failure to tackle the housing crisis will mean home ownership will remain out of reach of many low and middle-income earners, rents will continue to rise faster than wages and council housing waiting lists will grow ever longer.

“The council is financially secure and we want to build more homes. I believe a future Labour government will support councils,” said Councillor Wheeler.