Communities Secretary visits Plymouth to discuss housing issues

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire was in Plymouth on Thursday (21 March)  to discuss issues around housing and homelessness.

Mr Brokenshire visited the Shelter offices on the Barbican to meet Vicki Sampson (Devon hub manager) and Cathy Morley (solicitor) from the charity, Cllr Rebecca Smith, the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, and Cllr Ian Bowyer, the Conservative group leader on Plymouth City Council.

They discussed some of the issues Vicki and her staff see in Plymouth, the need for more social rented homes and the private rented sector, including Shelter’s calls for longer, more secure tenancies.

Mr Brokenshire said: “It’s been great to visit Plymouth and discuss key issues around housing and homelessness.

“The area has huge potential and I want to see more affordable housing, sustainable public services and a strong local economy.

“The Conservative government is committed to building the homes our country needs – of all types, including social housing – and eradicating rough sleeping.

“Rebecca Smith is doing a fantastic job bringing the challenges Plymouth faces to national attention.”

Cllr Smith said: “I’ve been engaging with Shelter over the last few years and have come to see the incredible value of their work in Plymouth.

“Earlier this year I had the opportunity to spend a morning in Plymouth Crown Court with their duty solicitor, shadowing them as they represented a number of local people at risk of losing their homes.

“The range of housing challenges and the complex reasons for people losing their homes I witnessed highlighted how important it is that we tackle these issues urgently.”

She added: “Housing is a key issue for me. Having spent some time working in social housing, I have seen how vital it is that local people have long-term and secure tenancies and the importance of good-quality, affordable homes in places where people want to live.

“It was great to be able to arrange for the Communities Secretary to meet the team at Shelter today, and I will keep working with them and other local groups to ensure the people of Plymouth have choice and security in the homes available to them.”

Cllr Bowyer said: “Addressing housing issues and homelessness is crucial and forms a key part of our manifesto for the local elections in May.

“We need to build the right homes in the right places, including affordable and social housing. And we have the plan to deliver these via our Homes for Plymouth strategy, based around a £140million investment to deliver 5,000 new houses.

“We are also committed to ensuring accommodation is available so nobody is forced to sleep rough. We support the government’s policy to eradicate homelessness by 2027 as well as the No Second Night Out project.”