A reduction in rents for social or affordable housing could cost Mansfield millions and jeopardise much-needed investment in the area.
That’s the warning issued by the town’s MP, Ben Bradley, who has written to the government to raise his concerns about its policy.
Mr Bradley’s anxieties stem from a new law that means councils must reduce rents on council properties by one per cent per year for the next four years.
He fears this will result in a loss in revenue of about £7 million to Mansfield District Council, and so could put at risk efforts to spend money to improve the town.
“While policy to reduce social rents is well intended and would be effective in places like London, where rental values are astronomical, it should not come at the expense of Mansfield District Council’s much-needed infrastructure projects,” said the MP.
“It is clear there is a desperate need for local investment, not just to ensure that housing needs are met but also to provide infrastructure and employment opportunities in Mansfield.
“Social rents have always been affordable locally, and I would much rather see the money reinvested in regeneration projects. I will raise my concerns with the Housing Minister, Alok Sharma.”
Mr Bradley was made aware of the problem by district councillor Barry Answer, who feels the loss of revenue could even prevent the council pursuing its regeneration agenda, including the building of additional social housing to meet public demand.
Both Coun Answer and Mr Bradley feel development of this kind is crucial to Mansfield, especially as the council’s social-housing register is heavily over-subscribed. Building extra holmes would provide jobs and training opportunities and so give a vital boost the local economy, they say.