Labour calls for action on East End housing crisis following huge slump in housebuilding and steep rise in rough sleeping

Labour are calling for urgent action to increase the supply of affordable homes in the East End after new figures released by the NHBC show that building work started on just 14 new homes in Bethnal Green and Bow in the first three months of 2013.

The figures reveal that the number of new build starts dropped by a quarter from nearly 1,200 in 2011 to just 885 in 2012, with only 14 new build starts for the first quarter of this year – just 4.2% of the equivalent figure for the first quarter of 2012. Separate figures released by Crisis show that the number of people sleeping rough in Tower Hamlets also increased by 17% in the past year.
Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow Rushanara Ali recently grilled David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions on the alarming increase in the number of homeless families being put up in temporary accommodation, and she is arguing that the latest appalling figures must serve as another wake-up call for the Government to take action on housing.

Rushanara Ali said: “These figures expose the full extent of the housing crisis facing the East End. With rough sleeping on the increase and 24,000 people on the waiting list for a new home in Tower Hamlets, it simply isn’t good enough that just 14 new homes were started in my constituency throughout the entire first quarter of this year. Demand for housing has long outstripped supply and this demand looks set to increase further as a result of London’s growing population. The Government must take action to increase the building of affordable homes. Rather than just increasing demand with its second home subsidies, it should be increasing the supply too.”

Cllr Abdal Ullah, Tower Hamlets Labour Group spokesperson for Housing said: “Residents will rightly be concerned that only 14 new homes were started in the first three months of this year. In addition to homelessness, overcrowding has a real impact on Tower Hamlets residents that is why we are supporting the Save the Children's campaign urging the Mayor of London to commit to halving the number of children living in overcrowded households by 2020. To do this part of the solution is clearly building more homes."