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Andy Burnham pledges 10,000 new council homes by 2028 to tackle housing crisis

Newly re-elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, was quick to let the public know what his priorities will be for his third term
Andy Burnham

Newly re-elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has set his sights on tackling the housing crisis head-on with a bold pledge to deliver 10,000 new homes across the region.

Starting his third term the same way he did his first in 2017, Andy went for an early walkabout in the city centre and posted on social media: “There are still too many people being forced onto our streets but the big difference between then and now is we can give everyone an offer of help.”

His first 12 months were eventful to say the least but he doesn’t stop fighting for change.

“I accept that the price of my power is to fight every day for a Greater Manchester where people can live free from the fear of debt, hunger and eviction.”

With housing firmly positioned as a top priority for his third term, Burnham aims to implement a series of strategic measures to alleviate the pressing shortage of affordable housing in Greater Manchester by 2038.

Today, he unveils a multifaceted approach designed to boost social housing numbers, enhance rental standards, and ultimately bring an end to the housing crisis that has plagued Greater Manchester in recent years.

Addressing the need for affordable housing

Central to Burnham’s strategy is the establishment of a new GM Housing First Unit, tasked with developing a detailed plan to deliver 10,000 new council homes by 2028.

With a target of at least 1,000 homes to be built in each borough, this initiative aims to provide a sustainable solution to the acute shortage of affordable housing in the region.

Building new Council homes in Manchester

By prioritising the construction of new council homes, Burnham seeks to offer a lifeline to residents grappling with housing insecurity and homelessness.

Recognising the pressing need to safeguard social housing, he intends to petition the government for powers to suspend the Right to Buy scheme on these newly constructed council properties.

This measure is aimed at curbing the alarming trend of social housing being lost to the private rented sector, a trend that has seen nearly 24,000 homes transferred out of social ownership in the last two decades.

Moreover, Burnham has shown a commitment to supporting vulnerable members of the community, pledging to continue donating 15% of his salary to the ‘A Bed Every Night’ initiative, which provides essential shelter for rough sleepers across Greater Manchester.

What has Andy Burnham pledged?

The Mayor’s announcements include:

– Creating a new GM Housing First unit which, by the end of 2024, will publish a detailed plan to deliver at least 10,000 new council homes in this Mayoral term.

– Identifying brownfield sites and land owned by public bodies for at least 1,000 of these new council homes in each GM borough.

– A formal request to Government for powers to suspend the Right to Buy on new council homes and to allow wider suspension at the request of councils in areas where pressure on social housing is greatest.

– A pilot scheme offering residents the right to request a property check – to be rolled out across Greater Manchester by the end of 2024.

– Opening the new GM Good Landlord Charter to applications by the summer, setting out standards for rental properties, and supporting landlords to meet them.

– Expanding the much-valued ‘A Bed Every Night’ scheme to at least 600 places every night, to provide crucial support to rough sleepers as the national cost-of-living crisis continues, with the Mayor continuing to donate 15% of his salary each month to support the scheme.

– A new enforcement capability that will work with councils to make greater use of compulsory purchase order (CPO) powers over non-decent and empty properties to expand the city-region’s social-rented stock.

What has Andy Burnham said about affordable housing?

He said: “Greater Manchester can’t achieve its full potential as long as it remains in the grip of a housing crisis.  That is why I am setting a new ambition for the city-region to end it within a decade.

“Ten thousand new council homes will help to do that as long as stock can be retained.  That’s why we’re calling for the suspension of Right to Buy.

“Everyone deserves to live in a good, safe home and by building new council homes, and suspending the Right to Buy on them, we can give our councils the breathing space they desperately need to replenish their stock, so that all of those waiting in temporary accommodation or on the housing registers have the chance to access good homes.”

Why does this need to be done?

Access to social housing is essential to many residents in Greater Manchester, as capped rent increases provide some protection to tenants against the soaring rents seen in the private rented sector.

The average rental price of a two-bed property in Manchester increased by 12.5% between February 2023-24, against an England average of 8.9%. Limiting access to affordable social housing can therefore help fuel a rise in housing insecurity, homelessness, and families in temporary accommodation.

The new ‘Housing First’ approach aims to address the main challenges for housing in Greater Manchester – poor living standards, especially in the private rented sector and low availability of truly-affordable housing – by implementing a collaborative, multi-agency approach that can address issues by developing tailored, whole-system solutions.

What do you think of this pledge? Will it solve Manchester’s housing crisis? Let us know! [email protected]

You can find out more of what Andy Burnham is up to on his Instagram here

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