(On Tuesday 20th March there was a letter in the Brighton Argus criticising me for various government policies and other matters over which I have no control. This is my response, published on 21st March 2018, although the sentence below in italics relating to world peace and Roger Rabbit was, sadly, not included in the published letter)
Your correspondent, Spencer Carvil (Look at the reasons we are facing housing crisis; 20th March 2018) makes some points which I do not fully understand.
He implies that it is the fault of councils that council houses have been sold. This was, in fact, a decision of the Thatcher government that gave tenants the right to buy and not, as he suggests, because they were badly built and it was costing too much to maintain. Those council houses sold have not been replaced because successive governments have restricted the borrowing powers of councils.
He is correct to say that the growing student population in the city has exacerbated the housing crisis, but so too have the better off, selling up in London and moving to the coast.
Mr Carvil implies that the licensing of houses in multiple occupation has facilitated the growth in student housing. If anything, the opposite is true. Licensing restricts the number of family homes that can be turned into student housing.
He then names me, asking what I have done to address these issues, and concludes that it is “not a lot”.
In this he is correct. I hold no public office and, therefore, have no power over the right to buy, government fiscal policy or the licensing of HMO properties. While I am about it, I would admit to failing spectacularly in bringing about world peace and I am yet to discover who framed Roger Rabbit.
I will continue to ensure that Brighton Housing Trust does its bit to tackle homelessness by providing accommodation for over 700 people each day, advice services that prevented 817 households from becoming homeless last year, and a range of other services to those in most need in Brighton and Hove.