Rother Valley: Kevin Barron’s column

Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron
Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron

I am calling on the Government to take action to make home ownership a realistic aspiration for working people and rents more affordable by building much needed homes.

According to independent experts, under the current government we are building less than half the homes a year we need to meet demand. The gap between the number of homes we build each year and what we need is unprecedented at over 100,000 each year.

A housing shortage, combined with the cost of living crisis, with falling wages and rising bills, is making rents increasingly expensive and putting home ownership out of reach for millions of working people.

Back in 1997 it took an average family just three years to save for a proper deposit on a home but today it takes 22 years. Private sector rents are now at the highest level ever recorded.

The Prime Minister has failed to tackle the housing shortage which is central to his cost of living crisis. The housing market isn’t working because there simply aren’t enough homes around for young people and families that want to buy but are forced to rent. The government has done next to nothing to increase housing supply and is presiding over the lowest levels of house building in peacetime since the 1920s.

I would like to see the housing crisis tackled by increasing the number of new homes built to at least 200,000 a year by 2020 and by scrapping the cruel bedroom tax which is driving so many families into rent arrears and putting them at risk of homelessness.

The Inspiring Women campaign will see 15,000 women from a wide range of occupations going into schools over the next year to speak to 250,000 young women.

Already thousands have signed up to talk to girls about their work and careers and schools are drawing on this resource to run activities including speed networking/informal Q&A sessions, mock interviews, CV help and careers fairs.

Any school interested in taking part can register at

The Highways Agency launched a consultation on proposals to implement a maximum mandatory 60 mph speed limit on the M1 junctions 28 to 35a.

I would encourage any organisations, businesses or individuals affected by these proposals to provide their views during this consultation.

Details of the consultation, which closes on 3 March 2014, can be found at

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is calling on community and voluntary groups to bid for money to support its work in driving down incidents.

The service wants registered charities, community organisations and partner agencies to come forward and apply for grants from the Stronger Safer Communities Fund, which has been set aside from the Fire and Rescue Authority’s reserves.

Groups will be able to bid for as little as £5,000 or as much as £250,000 to support projects which reduce injuries, save lives and make South Yorkshire safer. Key objectives for the fund include prioritising the most vulnerable, collaboration and data sharing.

New and innovative project proposals are especially welcome and projects can run for up to two years. The deadline for submitting expressions of interest is 10 February 2014.


I am surprised and delighted to have received an award in the Queen’s New Year Honours list. I would like to thank everyone who has contacted me and offered their congratulations.