Eco Council Housing Program
Labour is committed to a massive national house building programme. On Monday 27th July Sevenoaks CLP Executive passed the following motion:
“Labour’s proposed national house building programme should be based on eco council housing where all properties have solar panels and other green technologies.”
We are strongly opposed to austerity and recognise that it is only by achieving growth; prosperity for all can be achieved. It is clear, though, that the unplanned, market led growth of the past will lead to more environmental destruction and pollution.
Climate change is becoming an ever increasing threat and pollution, particularly air pollution is a worldwide threat to health. In the UK people are becoming increasingly aware of the threat air pollution poses to health and are demanding that political parties do something.
Everyone recognises that there is an escalating housing crisis. Homelessness has quadrupled, and young people are facing intolerable problems finding and maintaining accommodation. Even the Tories have given up on private ownership as a solution and are promoting building to rent as the answer.
Sevenoaks CLP proposed that Labour’s national house building programme should be based on eco council housing. This would include the latest innovations in solar panels, wind turbines, insulations, and water drainage.
It was recognised that the initial cost of this program would be intensive. It was suggested that it could be paid for through each of the following measures:
- A Land Tax
- A Second or more Home tax comparable to the one in Iceland.
- A pollution Tax on companies that pollute the environment
- Making National Insurance Progressive
Each Eco council house built would begin to generate energy, thus being a valuable asset. The clean energy generated would be sufficient for the tenants and would also generate energy for the community. While Eco Houses cost between 10% -20% more to build than a standard house they are an economic as well as environmental asset. In the long run an Eco-Council house would pay for itself and continue to generate clean, free energy for the community.
Council housing is an integral part of the policy. At present it is those who are able to afford to buy their own home who are able to benefit from solar & other green technologies. It is the poorest who are going cold who are being the most exploited. Eco council will share the benefits of green technologies for all.
Council housing also provides security of tenure. Many people who are in private rented accommodation are paying huge rents, plunging even those on relatively high incomes into poverty.
A council tenancy that is warm and modern can provide the tenants with a security that private accommodation can never offer. A secure home is an excellent basis to improve at school, tackle poverty and unemployment, improve physical and psychological health.
Fuel poverty is a horrific experience. Individuals and families having to choose between eating and going cold. The elderly terrified to turn on the heating, shivering in their rooms and getting sick and dying because of the cold. Eco council housing will ensure that these groups will never experience fuel poverty again. The sun and wind ensuring that they will always be warm at no cost to them or the community.
To ensure that home owners and others did not feel jealous it is proposed that Eco refurbishment for all homes is part of the package. This means that not only will new eco homes be built, but also public and private accommodation will also be eco refurbished so all can enjoy the benefits.
In brief the policy would:
- Tackle the housing crisis, providing secure homes for all
- A secure home can tackle many social problems
- Provide employment
- End fuel poverty
- Stimulate the growth of green technological revolution
- Tackle climate change & pollution
The green industrial revolution that this policy stimulates could lead to overseas aid assistance being truly meaningful. We could build eco homes throughout the developed world, enabling poor countries take advantage of their hot climate and develop clean, renewable energy.
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