Labour block removal of key affordable housing target from Council Corporate Plan

Plans to delete a key performance indicator that monitors the percentage of new build homes that are affordable from Barnet council's Corporate Plan were blocked by Labour councillors at last week's Performance & Contract Management Committee (PCM, Thursday 5 January).

Conservative councillors proposed replacing the Corporate Performance Indicator 'Percentage of new build homes that are affordable' which has a target of 40 per cent as required by the council's planning policy, with a new indicator 'Delivery of affordable housing completions' for which no target was specified.

Labour councillors argued that while monitoring the number of affordable housing completions each year is important, the council also needs to continue to monitor the percentage of affordable homes achieved, taking into account that the planning target of 40% affordable only applies to developments over 10 units.

Labour's Cllr Geof Cooke secured agreement that a report would come back to the next PCM committee meeting on the issue.

Barnet has consistently failed to meet the affordable housing target of 40%, achieving 28% over the last three reported years (1,096 homes completed between 2012/13-2014/15). Neighbouring Brent achieved 40% in the same period (1,173 homes), and Camden delivered 37% (561 homes).

The lack of affordable housing is now the top concern of local residents according to the council's own Residents' Perception Survey.

Labour Performance & Contract Management spokesperson, Cllr Geof Cooke said:

"I agree that we need to monitor the number of affordable homes actually completed each year to ensure that what is agreed at planning is delivered over time, but we also need to monitor how well we are doing against the actual planning policy of 40% affordable housing where it applies."

"Removing this performance indicator from the council's most important strategic plan is just a way of disguising the fact that the Barnet Tories are not meeting their own target.

"And they are not just failing the target, they are failing thousands of families in Barnet living long-term in overcrowded housing, those struggling to afford their rent, and young people forced to live with parents into their 30s because they cannot find a home of their own they can afford.

"The indicator and 40% target should be retained in the Corporate Plan."

Ends.

Notes:

1. A copy of the report on Corporate Plan performance indicators can be found here (Agenda Item 7):

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=693&MId=8833&Ver=4

2. For more from Barnet Labour on the council's delivery of affordable homes see:

http://www.barnetlabour.org.uk/latest_figures_show_barnet_still_failing_to_meet_affordable_homes_target

For more information contact Cllr Geof Cooke: cllr.g.cooke@barnet.gov.uk

To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568

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