Cllr Paul Gadsby is the Cabinet Member for Housing at Lambeth, and is a councillor in Vassall ward.
Today marks a hundred years since the passing of the Addison Act, one of the greatest pieces of legislation to make its way through the House of Commons in the 20th century. It laid the foundations for modern council housing as we know it, and brought the government and local authorities into the business of building homes for working people.
The principles of the Addison Act are just as important now as they were a century ago. Council housing should still be about providing homes at affordable rent of a high standard which are maintained by local authorities like Lambeth. In this borough, we do cherish these homes, because they are not just bricks and mortar; they form an important part of a vibrant community and neighbourhood. That is why we as a Labour council are investing in and building more of these homes. Since 2012 we have spent over £450 million in upgrading 23,000 homes across the borough with new bathrooms, kitchens, windows and other works, like electrical rewiring. This has made a real difference to people’s lives, like Valencia, Genevieve, John and Flossie, who are four of thousands of residents who have benefited. We also do much more though than look after our housing, we invest in our estates; in their playgrounds, their green spaces and their communal areas. I visited the Cowley estate where I filmed a video celebrating council homes from a playground which has benefitted from over £100,000 worth of funding as part of the LEAP investment.
We will go on in this borough promoting council housing, despite the current government’s indifference to home building. Promises of funding for more building of accommodation of all types have proved to be a mirage while the private rented sector remains like the Wild West, with little law enforcement and too many cowboy landlords. But despite this, we will go on investing in our council homes: 5,000 more will be improved this year and we are committed to building a 1,000 more in the future.
As we head past the 100 year anniversary of the Addison Act, I believe it’s time we reclaim council housing as one of the main pillars of housing provision in this country.
Cllr Paul Gadsby