Directly elected mayors should be given more devolved powers to help “solve the housing crisis”, including the regulation of the private rented sector, the mayor of Manchester said in an open letter to the three main political party leaders on Tuesday.
Andy Burnham (Lab) called for “extended devolution” over housing, welfare budgets and housing investment in a letter to Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Vince Cable.
Mr Burnham wrote: “To tackle the root causes of homelessness and rough-sleeping, we need a new national consensus on the unacceptability of homelessness in 2018 and significant new powers devolved to local bodies to intervene in the market and build the homes for social rent that are sorely needed.”
The mayor first made the announcement at an anniversary event of his mayoralty on Tuesday, where he committed to “ending” rough sleeping in the city by 2020. Rough sleeping in Greater Manchester has risen by 578% since 2010.
In a wide-ranging letter covering a number of different issues, the mayor called for housing to be recognised as a human right, similar to education or health.
Mr Burnham said: “Any night spent on the streets causes immense damage to people’s physical and mental health. Housing is a health issue and in this, the 70th anniversary year of the National Health Service, what better way of marking than by extending the right to healthcare to safe housing.”