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