From the first day of my administration, housing has been our top priority. The security of a good, affordable place to live has never been more important. We have made a real dent in the housing crisis we inherited and, despite being slowed by the pandemic, have built thousands of new homes. Goram Homes, the city’s council-house-building company, and our pipeline of 2,500 new council houses, can help rebuild a better Bristol where nobody is left behind.
But, with Government support during this pandemic still wanting, we know that progress in tackling the housing crisis risks going into reverse – particularly after the end of the eviction ban. A third of renters have been their income fall since March and, with redundancies and rent arrears rising, many are worried that things will get worse, not better, this winter. Around 2.5 million renters are concerned about how they’ll pay their bills in coming months, with almost as many people again likely to be on council house waiting lists next year.
Recent research from the Local Government Association and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation highlights the story which too many Bristolians live out on daily basis: that the pandemic and resultant recession have most hit those who can afford it least – with certain communities disproportionately likely to be struggling to make ends meet. We all know that more national support is needed to help people keep a roof over their head. For full details of the local financial help which we have put in place, including our council tax safety net, please visit our dedicated covid-19 website.