Headlines: May 31st, 2001

A housing lobbying body is claiming that all three major parties are missing one of the key ingredients they will need to deliver their manifesto promises.ROOM says that while Labour, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats talk about providing adequate, affordable, safe and sustainable housing, none put the requirement high enough up their agenda.

ROOM’s ‘Manifesto for Housing and Planning – Accommodating the Future’, says that without decent housing, other manifesto commitments will not be met.

It says the Labour Party’s aspirations for improving public services, including the recruitment of thousands of nurses, police and teachers, will be frustrated if it fails to boost significantly affordable housing.

It claims the Conservatives’ proposals to abolish national and regional house-building targets could further exacerbate the serious under-provision of new housing of all kinds.

And it says the Liberal Democrats need to clarify what contribution the social housing sector will make to their objective of regenerating deprived communities, and how this will be financed.

It says that despite advances over the last four years, there is a long way to go before all people in this country are adequately housed in attractive neighbourhoods within easy access of essential services.

Despite all the regeneration initiatives, last year saw the lowest number of houses built since the 1920s.

ROOM’s Manifesto challenges the new Government to promote positive planning for housing and regeneration, deliver a sustainable and safe housing stock in high quality neighbourhoods, provide an assured future for social housing, and create secure diverse and vibrant communities in town and country.

ROOM is the name of a new registered charity formed in 1999 to improve the contributionof housing and planning to the social and physical regeneration of local communities. It hasa membership of over 600 organisations and individuals involved in all aspects of housing, planning and regeneration.

Individual copies of Accommodating the Future: A Manifesto for Housing and Planning are available free from ROOM, 14 Old St, London EC1V 9BH. There will be a charge for bulk orders.