General Election 2019: Derek Thomas on Housing

For as long as people struggle to get a home that they can afford, I’ll continue to press planners and developers to provide quality homes.

We need to be much more ambitious about the way we provide new homes and I have long argued that future development should be focused on using existing brownfield sites and being more imaginative about the use of existing building space.

For example, much more could be done to bring back redundant homes into use and there is also a huge, untapped stock of empty accommodation above the retail outlets in our high streets which could be used to provide extra housing as well as re-invigorating our town centres.

I have long championed the Rent to Buy model of affordable housing which has proved very successful in other areas. Many families are blocked from buying a home (due to affordability models) despite the fact that their monthly rent is more than a mortgage repayment would be. Rent to buy provides secure homes for families in this predicament. 

I am privileged to be involved in the ROC initiative (Redeeming Our Communities), launched in Penzance, which has proven to build strong communities elsewhere including reducing homelessness.