The Cities Outlook 2019 released by the Centre for Cities this morning shows that whilst Cambridge had the highest growth in housing stock in the last year, it still remains the third most unaffordable city in the country. Cambridge’s average house price is 15.6 times average earnings, meaning that the city sits behind only Oxford and London in terms of unaffordability.
Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, commented: “Whilst I am glad that Cambridge’s housing stock is growing, this is clearly not yet translating into affordability. Our councils are strapped for cash as a result of the last nine years of austerity as the Centre for Cities report also shows. Therefore, despite the bold efforts of our City Council, social housing and council housing still can’t be built quickly enough to make our city a truly affordable place to live. The government needs to regulate further and fix the broken housing market, looking at potential solutions such as those proposed by Sadiq Khan in London for rent controls as well introducing three-year tenancies, as long called for by Labour.”
“The report recognises that Cambridge continues to be an innovation dynamo, confirming that Cambridge still has the highest number of patent applications per person, but, this is threatened by our lack of accessible housing – Cambridge is at risk of its unaffordability marring its success.”
The Centre for Cities report also shows that local government cuts since 2010 have hit cities hard particularly as demands for services such as social care have grown. The report argues that social care funding needs to be reformed so that cities can continue to deliver other services. Cambridge has seen as 12.5% drop in public spending between 2009/10 and 2017/18 but has had to increase social care spending by 4.9%, causing huge financial pressure.
Mr Zeichner further commented: “We must ensure effective public services are able to be delivered in Cambridge. Social care is hugely important, and must be funded properly to allow councils to support other vital public services. We’ve been waiting on the Government’s new social care plans since summer 2017 – our communities can’t wait any longer. The government must find a solution to social care that does not damage local government services.”