Today I met with Cllr Ian Wingfield, Cabinet Member for Housing and Cllr Fiona Colley, Cabinet Member for Regeneration from Southwark Council.
I know that many people from Camberwell and Peckham will have been watching anxiously to see what the budget was for Social Housing in the Chancellor's statement on the spending review on Wednesday last week.
In Southwark, there is a large social housing stock, low income levels and high Housing Benefit dependency. I wanted to hear what the planned cuts might mean for the council and to see how I could help.
Half of Southwark residents who live in private rented accommodation and claim Housing Benefit will be affected by these cuts. On average the people affected will loose £12 a week of the help they get to pay their rent, that's over £600 a year.
Southwark Council expects 3,500 people who currently live in privately rented accommodation in Southwark will seek help from the council be the end of the year. The Government must review its plans.
Following the Comprehensive Spending Review I would be grateful if you confirm the position on housing PFI. I understand that Southwark Council is bidding for £180 million of PFI funding for the next stage of regeneration. This money is not confirmed. Is it still in existence?
Right of Return
Tenants who may have been re-housed away from the estate as a result of the first phase of regeneration work have a right to opt to return to the estate providing they have expressed a desire to do so when leaving the estate.
As part of the Spending Review the Chancellor announced that new council tenants can be charged up to 80% of market rents. How is this new policy going to work and how what it will mean for residents on the Aylesbury Estate who have moved as part of the regeneration? Will tenants keep their rights to security of tenure when they move from one property to another? And what will happen to council tenants if they move from a council property to a housing association property - it is essential that tenancy rights are protected.