Dr Nik Johnson angry as Palmer gives people false hope and hinders progress to reduce the housing crisis
During the BBC Look East special yesterday ‘A Mayor for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough’, Conservative candidate James Palmer claimed that he would be able to address the affordable housing crisis using his £100K homes scheme. He said that he would be able to build enough homes to meet all the demand for those needing affordable housing in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough using this scheme, offering homes at a guaranteed maximum of £100K per home.
Sound too good to be true? Sadly, it is. Mr Palmer has been Mayor for the past four years so what is his record in delivering these homes? The answer is eight houses in Fordham in four years. Two houses per year. The waiting list for houses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is over two thousand families. At a rate of two
houses per year, it would take Mr Palmer’s £100K scheme one thousand years to house these families.
£8 million in loans were taken for the building of these £100K homes from the precious £100 million central government funding intended for the building of two thousand affordable homes in Cambridgeshire. No wonder that the government blocked £45 million and potentially prevented one thousand new affordable homes because – as they wrote to Mr Palmer – the value for money of the programme he is running has failed the test of good use of public money. In total as Mayor, Mr Palmer has arranged close to £50 million in loans to two elite lenders ECDC and Laragh for so-called affordable homes at an approximate loan of £1 million for each of the 55 homes built.
Labour candidate Nik Johnson said “James Palmer’s claims regarding his £100K
homes during the debate yesterday made me angry as they will have given false
hope to thousands waiting for a truly affordable home in Cambridgeshire &
Peterborough. His actions during his term as Mayor have greatly hampered the
building of affordable building in the Greater Cambridgeshire and squandered money
from central government, including the Government not paying over £45 million that
was due to fund 1000 affordable homes, not 8! If elected Mayor I would address the housing crisis by building council homes and working with councils in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to ensure that all new developments have a 50% affordable housing requirement.”