‘The Leeds City Re­gion has an above na­tional av­er­age rate of fuel poverty’

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE - Natalie Sykes

The hous­ing market is fac­ing ma­jor chal­lenges. Many young peo­ple can’t af­ford to save for a de­posit on their first house, ex­ploita­tive land­lords take ad­van­tage of the poor­est in so­ci­ety and an­gry protests take place about land al­lo­cated for hous­ing de­vel­op­ments.

The last 20 years have seen a big fall in home own­er­ship among young adults. In 2017, 35 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds were home own­ers, down from 55 per cent in 1997, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est re­port from the In­sti­tute for Fis­cal Stud­ies.

The re­port said that in­creases in prop­erty prices rel­a­tive to in­comes have made it in­creas­ingly hard for young adults to raise a de­posit. Even a 10 per cent de­posit leaves them with se­verely re­stricted op­tions.

It is in our na­ture as hu­mans to want our own home. For those of you who read my ar­ti­cle on Maslow a few weeks ago, this is the first step in the hi­er­ar­chy of needs.

How­ever, this ba­sic ne­ces­sity is ma­nip­u­lated to cre­ate wealth that pays big­ger bonuses to those at the top whilst peo­ple get trapped in neg­a­tive eq­uity and feel the squeeze of in­fla­tion.

There was some pos­i­tive news in this week’s Bud­get, in­clud­ing help for first-time buy­ers of shared own­er­ship prop­er­ties and a £675m fund that will help coun­cils turn un­used high street shops or com­mer­cial build­ings into homes.

I was also pleased to see the Chan­cel­lor of­fer­ing up to £1bn of sup­port to SME house­builders. But more must be done. The Leeds City Re­gion has an above na­tional av­er­age rate of fuel poverty with more than 156,000 homes (11.5 per cent) classed as fuel poor, ac­cord­ing to Coun Su­san Hinch­cliffe, leader of Brad­ford Coun­cil and chair of the West York­shire Com­bined Author­ity.

This is un­ac­cept­able, al­though the city re­gion should be ap­plauded for fit­ting hun­dreds of homes with new gas-fired cen­tral heat­ing sys­tems as part of its Warm Homes pro­gramme.

And whilst it is pleas­ing to see an in­jec­tion of new houses in the golden tri­an­gle of Har­ro­gate, Leeds and York, I re­main as­ton­ished that we do not in­sist on fi­bre ca­ble that is fit for the

21st cen­tury or cy­cle paths and im­proved paving for pedes­tri­ans.

Surely these things should be a given? We need to work to­gether to make these things hap­pen, con­tact our MPs and lobby for change.

We have the bril­liant Juli­ette Healey, Bank of Eng­land Agent for York­shire and the Hum­ber, at our next Har­ro­gate busi­ness break­fast on Novem­ber 8 at the West Park Ho­tel. I for one will be pos­ing ques­tions around in­fla­tion and the im­pact on strug­gling house­holds. To feed­back your views di­rectly to the IoD’s na­tional pol­icy team, join us on Novem­ber 30 at The Man­sion, Round­hay Park for our West York­shire Lead­ers Lunch where the spe­cial guest will be Ed­win Mor­gan, IoD pol­icy di­rec­tor.

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