I'm one of the party activists based in Sheffield. You may have recently seen my blog post about the music industry.
I'm wanting to talk about something else, though.
One of the major issues we have in this country at the moment is housing. There's a bizarre emphasis on owning your own home, pushed by the economy's reliance on the housing market. As a result, we've seen repeated house price bubbles, which the current gov has chosen to contribute to with the 'right to buy' scheme.
I think this is reckless, puts more pressure on younger people who don't have the resources to buy their own home and sets up a disaster down the road when the bubble eventually bursts.
I think we need more social housing, more emphasis on renting rather than owning and therefore better protections for people in private rented accommodation and the creation of longer-term leases for properties, enabling people to settle instead of having to move every few years, as seems to be the current norm. Rent controls also need to be looked at, to stop greedy landlords gouging their tenants.
So, what are people's suggestions? I keep thinking of the big, empty properties around Sheffield, and the tower blocks full of empty offices that would do much better as housing than yet another empty office. Perhaps something that designates properties left empty for a prolonged period as being abandoned and redeveloped into affordable and/or social housing?