Liberals leading the way on radical social change for over a century as centenary of council housing celebrated.

October 1, 2019 10:22 AM

Dr Charles Addison MPThis year marks the centenary of the Liberals Housing Act of 1919, named after the Liberal Health Minster Dr Charles Addison MP, which laid the basis for councils to provide social housing.

As Parliament struggles with our future relationship with Europe, we are reminded that it was 19th century Liberal philosophy to create a European order based on co-operation rather than conflict and on mutual trust instead of rivalry and suspicion. The rule of law was to supplant the reign of force and self-interest.

It was the Liberals who laid the foundations of our Welfare State including universal education; health insurance, health and safety at work, unemployment benefits and old age pensions. We are as strongly invested in these concept as the most radical anywhere in the country.
As Liberal Democrats we are concerned more about the provision of housing rather than just who provides it. We do not believe that only councils can do the job.

Here in Newcastle we have a substantial amount of housing provided by YHN. We also have the innovative work being done by Tynexe, a joint venture between the Council and a private developer.

Northbourne Street in Elswick was Victorian terraced housing, much standing empty and dilapidated, with consequent Anti Social Behaviour. The City Council worked with Tynexe and Home Group the social housing association to clear the site and then create 86 modern affordable rented homes while keeping a traditional layout, but with gardens for personal space and a sense of community.

The Loadman Street development nearby plans 172 units. It is being pursued with Newcastle getting a substantial grant from Homes England for site remediation. Tynexe will then be the developer with a range of options for building homes next year.

The City Council also participates in Tynexe profits, which are used for community grants. It's a mechanism for housing provision which has further scope and which the Liberal Democrats will pursue.