The Greens have challenged the Tories sell off pledge, saying that 8650 affordable homes need to be built each year in the South East. New social housing, and ending the right to buy have been identified as essential to addressing the housing crisis in the Green Party manifesto published this week. This is even more extreme in the South East than other parts of the country.
Homes in the South East now cost 12 times the average salary, and in 2013/14 no new homes were built by local authorities anywhere in the region. Even though there are 89,000 empty homes in the South East last year no homes were brought back into use in the South East using Empty Dwelling Management Orders.
As well as a lack of affordable housing, child poverty is at startling levels in the wealthy South East, and food banks are feeding over 92,000 people annually in the region.
The main Green party manifesto pledges :
- A fair economy (which includes a minimum wage of £10 per hour, and a wealth tax on the top 1% plus a million new public sector jobs)
- Ending the creeping privatisation of the NHS
- Taking urgent action on climate change, and an end to fracking
Jonathan Essex, chair of the South East region, said: “at least 30% of children are living in poverty in Portsmouth and Hastings and Rye which is unacceptable. Even in the more affluent areas like Reigate, where I’m a Parliamentary candidate, child poverty is at 13%.
“We have a new Food Bank opening up in Dorking in June – an area where you just wouldn’t expect to find people going hungry. This is the result of changes and cuts to benefits, a minimum wage that isn’t enough to live on and which causes untold misery and despair”.
The Greens would also introduce a programme of home insulation which would cut carbon emissions and end fuel poverty. Over 10% of households are reckoned to be in fuel poverty in the South East.
“This is a manifesto of hope. It offers decent and affordable homes for families and for the next generation. People would be warm and have enough to eat. It’s shocking that the last Government couldn’t even offer those basic commitments”, said Jonathan Essex.