Beith champions affordable rented homes in villages

Lord Beith, second left, at the opening of the Kennedy Green development of affordable homes in Beadnell in 2012.

Lord Beith, second left, at the opening of the Kennedy Green development of affordable homes in Beadnell in 2012.

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Lord Beith has spoken out in the House of Lords to back the provision of affordable rented housing in rural villages for local people.

The Liberal Democrat peer, who was MP for Berwick from 1973 to 2015, was speaking in support of an amendment to the Housing Bill, which ensures that small private housing developments in villages include or provide for social-rented housing for local people.

Lord Beith said: “The severe shortage of affordable rented housing in the villages of rural Northumberland leads me to support any mechanism that will encourage the continued provision of houses to rent in villages.

“Many of the council houses that were built in our villages have gone into either the second-home or retirement market because of the right-to-buy scheme and because they are in beautiful places, by the seaside or among the hills of Northumberland.

“Ministers must ensure we keep the mechanisms by which we can get some rented housing into villages; mechanisms that bring housing associations into the management of these properties, and therefore protects them for future rented use in a way that local authority housing no longer does.”

The amendment was passed by a large majority and will now be put to the Commons.

During the debate, the Government Minister said that they were willing to have further discussions about new regulations for rural schemes, but peers insisted that the Housing Bill should be changed to cover it.