On Monday (5 February), Southwark Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Victor Chamberlain gave evidence on behalf of the Local Government Association to a parliamentary Select Committee highlighting the need for far more social housing to provide homes for disabled residents.
Speaking at the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee on Tuesday, Cllr Chamberlain explained how local authorities were best placed to provide homes suitable for disabled people because they were genuinely affordable and suitable for adaptions and accessibility features. Cllr Chamberlain said there were far too few council homes and new additions were not being built “at a quick enough speed”.
The committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into disabled people and the housing sector, examining the role of housing providers in delivering accessible homes.
At the committee, Cllr Chamberlain highlighted the case of a disabled resident in Southwark who has been on the housing waiting list for over 22 years due to a lack of suitable housing and the council’s inability to make necessary adaptions to existing homes.
Cllr Chamberlain also said the £30,000 cap on funding disabled people can claim to make adaption was "now insufficient for most major building work costs". A Government commitment to increase this has been “quietly dropped” according to the BBC.
He also highlighted the discrimination disabled people face in the private rental sector, with 40% of landlords saying they would not rent to someone who required adaptations.
Commenting, Southwark Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Victor Chamberlain said:
“Disabled people are being severely let down by the housing sector in this country, in the private sector and through the lack of genuinely affordable council homes. Local authorities are best placed to provide the accessible housing disabled people require, but they are hamstrung by years of Conservative cuts as well as local policy failures. The Government needs to support councils to build 100,000 social homes every year to address this.
“No one should be waiting two decades for a home that meets their needs, but that is the very real situation faced by too many people. The housing crisis is affecting everyone, but it is those with the greatest needs who are being failed the worst.”
Watch Cllr Chamberlain at the LUHC Committee here