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ANDY BURNHAM SLATES GREATER MANCHESTER £300MILLION LUXURY HOUSING FUND
 

Star date: 16th August 2016

£300MILLION PUBLIC FUNDING FOR LUXURY APARTMENTS CRITICISED BY GM MAYOR CANDIDATE

Andy Burnham MP, who is the Labour Party candidate for Greater Manchester Mayor, has slated the £300million Greater Manchester Housing Fund – public money which has been used to shore up luxury apartment schemes, including Fred Done's blocks of unaffordable flats in Salford.

"I will renegotiate the aims of this fund" states Burnham, writing for Inside Housing today, "so that we can fully focus it on the long-term goal of an affordable home for all..."

Full details here...


Housing Action Protest June 2016 Housing Action Protest June 2016 Housing Action Protest June 2016
Housing Action Protest June 2016 Housing Action Protest June 2016 Housing Action Protest June 2016
Wilburn Street Basin Development
click image to enlarge

While not one single Salford councillor - nor the former City Mayor, Ian Stewart, or current Mayor Paul Dennett - has had a word to say about the scandalous £300million Greater Manchester Housing Fund which has been used to shore up luxury apartment schemes, today it has finally got criticised by a politician.

Andy Burnham, the Leigh MP who is standing as the Labour Party's Greater Manchester Mayor candidate in next year's election, has slated the public money scheme which provides cheap loans for private property developers who provide no affordable housing.

In Salford, Fred Done's FICM Ltd, got a £17.312million loan from the Fund towards its two horrendous blocks of 380 apartments by the Black Friars pub in Trinity. According to the Sunday Times Rich List, the Done brothers, Fred and Peter, are the sixth wealthiest people in the North West, worth £950million, up £50million from the previous year (see previous Salford Star article – click here).

WB Developments (Salford) Ltd also got a cheap £42.5million loan to build 491 apartments on the Wilburn Street Basin site, at the back of the Regent Road retail centre by the River Irwell (see previous Salford Star article – click here).

Rowlinson Developments' controversial scheme for 164 apartments on Peel Holdings' Pomona, across the canal from Ordsall, also got a £10.3million loan from the Fund.

Despite public money being used to finance these schemes, none provided any desperately needed affordable housing, and writing in today's Inside Housing, Andy Burnham pledged to sort it out...

"Under the devolution deal, a £300m housing fund has been created for Greater Manchester" he states "At the insistence of the government, this fund is limited to commercially-led housing development. As a result, there are concerns that the fund has been used to provide loans to large companies, which should have used their own finance instead, and that is too focused on city centre and luxury schemes.

"We need a housing fund that is totally focused on tackling Greater Manchester's housing crisis" he explains "While it is clearly building new properties and helping to stimulate regeneration, I cannot see how this approach will this solve our housing problems. Instead, we need a Greater Manchester housing fund that is totally focused on tackling Greater Manchester's housing crisis.

"If devolution is to mean anything, then surely it should be left to us to determine our own housing priorities?" he adds "I think so, and that is why I will renegotiate the aims of this fund so that we can fully focus it on the long-term goal of an affordable home for all."

As one of the Greater Manchester local authorities, Salford City Council underwrites the Fund to the tune of £21.129million (see here); and, for the two Salford schemes the Council has waived £3.2million in planning fees due to `viability' issues (ie profits won't be big enough), in line with a planning scandal that has now involved over £40million of unpaid, avoided and evaded fees (see previous Salford Star article – click here)

Meanwhile, Salford Council has admitted that there is an 8.7 year `queue' on its social housing register for a one bedroom flat, with demand rocketing "in the light of the Bedroom Tax" (see here).

In today's article, Burnham states that "We can do better than this. As mayor, my policy aim would be simple: a decent and affordable home, either to rent or to own, for everyone in Greater Manchester"

Explaining that the housing crisis was made in Westminster, beginning with Margaret Thatcher's sell off of council houses, and ending with current Tory atrocities like the Bedroom Tax, sanctions and cuts to refuges and supported housing, he argues that "My top priority will be to encourage a substantial increase in council and social housing in all ten boroughs...

"The majority of the fund should be used to provide loans and guarantees to our councils and housing associations to expand the public housing stock and build the affordable homes for rent that we desperately need" he adds "A small proportion of the new homes will be designated 'rent-to-own': available on a long-term lease to people under 35 and giving hope of homeownership to 'Generation Rent'."

Other priorities include setting up a Community Buy-Back Fund, providing loans to councils to buy out dodgy private landlords and to "seek powers to regulate rent increases and property standards".

Other, more woolly, unexplained ideas include "ending homelessness in Greater Manchester" – by "uniting public, private and voluntary organisations who want to help"? ...and "a new emphasis on building homes with care and support in mind" and "to support people in their own homes, rather than allowing them to drift into hospital and then care homes".

Of course, it's easy to say all this before you get into power – and then do nothing, a la Salford Labour Council. But at least Andy Burnham is putting dodgy private developments on the agenda, which is a radical shift from the current attitude of Labour Party controlled Greater Manchester councils.

Burnham's views were broadly welcomed by GM Unite Community Branch, which represents many people on low income and benefits...

"We see this as a positive step forward to meeting the housing needs of Greater Manchester residents and the growing number of homeless people" John Clegg of Unite Community told the Salford Star this afternoon.


To read the full article by Andy Burnham in Inside Housing – click here

* Greater Manchester Housing Action has constantly campaigned against the £300million fund and is aiming to step up its action this winter. See previous Salford Star articles - click here and click here

 

Michael James Felse wrote
at 09:26:48 on 18 August 2016
Thank you GoldMedalW for asking. The Gold Medal in Business Skills awarded by City & Guilds along with being awarded their National Executive Honorary Membership represents an honor from the very top in leadership, management, education, skills and knowledge. The value to every UK business success makes it great that I became the only man in the UK and Ireland to get their acclaimed 2016 Gold Medal. I pride their Medal above my Oxford University Management Qualifications to be honest as it represents the real world of work. a lifelong interest in helping people learn and comes as recognition from the World leaders in Skillls, Education and Training Qualifications. You bet your brain I am over the moon with the 2016 Gold. Bo e
 
Gold Medal What?? wrote
at 05:56:26 on 18 August 2016
Mr Felse, the gold medal you won for 'business skills' was as a lecturer on a Level 3 NVQ in Customer Service at your own training company, no doubt self nominated. Level 3 NVQ is entry level for school leavers, hardly Lord Sugar!! Well done, but please stop trying to make out you are some big business guru!
 
Tracey wrote
at 13:26:09 on 17 August 2016
Lets hope he is true to his word and stops the likes of Fred Done - Paul Dennett take a leaf out of Andy's book and support Salford Folk
 
Peter wrote
at 13:26:05 on 17 August 2016
Strange how both the mayors kept quite about this being they both served together. The thing that concerns me is untill Andy came along nothing was said about Salford and Manchester councils using public money in this way. Just goes to show especially with Salford they can't be trusted any longer. They seem to be quite apt at cutting devices.
 
Michael James Felse wrote
at 13:25:41 on 17 August 2016
Hi Mary. If only it was as simple as trusting Mr Burham MP. He has indicated he would double job. How does a cabinet member of the infighting Corbyn camp, an MP and Mayor of 2.7million people to serve get to do those jobs and take on big developers in ending sweetener funds? His plan will chase richer boss's own match cash investements away from our area into others that will snatch their hands off. The B (Burham) Plan drives down house building and it deters jobs investment, kills new enterprise and turns Greater Manchester into a competition hazard zone. The one act by Mr Burham will destroy chances of 65,000 extra jobs in post Brexit, rob us of the Northern Power House lead body status and gift the opportunity of community prosperity to others such as Liverpool. We will see vast increases in social housing queues that Labour Councils across Greater Manchester with Salford has driven to over 132,000. As the UK Gold Medal Winner 2016 in Business Skills I must say it is not as simple as Mr Burham thinks. We need an Assembly with 4 Conservatives. 4 Greens. 4 UKIP. 2 Labour plus 6 locally chosen independent members to put hope back ending the none-business approach of Labour. The answer is not to turn our backs on investments it is to increase cash flow into our areas, local people getting jobs, and to build 100,000 social houses while we stop seeing private property as an enemy. Say NO to Burham.
 
Mary Ferrer wrote
at 05:14:17 on 17 August 2016
Thank God,a politician with a bloody brain.could never understand why we were giving loans to multimillionaires to build UNAFFORDABLE APARTMENT'S and letting them off paying planning fees.Now let's hope he is not all hot-air like the rest of them
 
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