Labour should keep quiet over housing

I was pleased to read in recent issues of the Courier that local Labour Councillors, Alan Wilkinson and Jane Knight, are committed to the provision of social housing for the 4,000 households Cllr Wilkinson reports are waiting for homes.

It is good to see the Labour Party showing such tremendous committment and dedication to the provision of new council homes but I guess that’s easy when you are not in power. Being a curious person I thought I would check with Warwick District Council to see just what Labour’s record on housing was like when they were in power for 13 years from 1997 to 2010. Let’s recall that Labour ran the Government with a huge majority, Warwick and Leamington had a Labour MP and Warwick District had a Lab/Lib council.

According to figures provided to me by WDC 1,054 council homes were sold under Right To Buy and not one single council home was built in all those years. I asked whether there had been an increase or reduction in the number of social housing homes (council and housing association). The council advised that from the information they had available they reported an increase of 40 homes in those 13 years which is equal to less than four a year. Assuming Labour in power again would not achieve any better results it would take 1,000 years to house Cllr Wilkinson’s 4,000 households.

I also asked the council what receipts the council had got from selling 1,054 homes. I was told that the sales had raised over £46 million out of which the council had had to pay £34 million to central government, possibly under orders from the then Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, who,in addition to destroying the dreams of tens of thousands of households waiting for a council home, now rejoices in the title of Lord Prescott.

While I have no truck with this Conservative Government complete with its Liberal-Democrat figleaf, I suggest that Labour should keep their heads down and their mouths shut when it comes to social housing matters. Their record, when they had the power nationally and locally to really do something, is pitiful and pathetic and displays the difference between the rhetoric when you can’t do very much and the reality when you have the power to do anything. - R Grenville, via email.