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F


ollowing a very enjoyable Christmas break, my Parliamentary post bags and email inbox


are again incredibly busy with hundreds of emails and letters on all sorts of issues. I get hundreds of emails and letters every week dealing with issues ranging from immigration to the Government‘s economic policy. One subject that I see again and again is that


of housing. I deal with correspondence on all matters of housing issues and housing types, from problems in obtaining social housing to young people struggling to get on to the property ladder. There seems to be one problem at the centre of all these issues - that there just aren‘t enough affordable homes in Watford. This month the Government have started to


debate the Localism Bill, which will give greater powers to local people and authorities to decide on housing for their area, giving the Council and local residents a greater say in planning. Often when I am speaking to people in Watford


they raise concerns over planning and development in their local area and I believe that these new measures will be a good opportunity for local people to have their say. While I am very pleased to see these changes I


am also very conscious of the lack of affordable homes in our town. In Watford the average home price has increased by 220% in the last 10 years. For first time buyers it is almost impossible to get on the housing ladder. Watford is a wonderful place to live for young


people with exciting jobs locally and easy travel in and out of London, however prices make it very difficult to settle here and get on the property ladder. This real need for affordable homes however,


must be weighed up against people‘s concerns about planning in their local area. While people


may want to see more affordable homes, many people are concerned about such homes being built on their street. This is a matter that I would really like to hear


people‘s views on so that I can present to the Government a realistic picture of what people want. I would be very interested to know what people


think about housing in Watford; do you want to see more or less new homes and have you found that you cannot afford to buy a house here? To share your views please email me at richard.harrington.mp@parliament.uk This month I went to visit an excellent


organisation called Watford Workshop. Tucked away behind a busy retail park the organisation employs people with disabilities to manufacture a whole range of products. What I saw there was truly inspiring. For the many employees there their jobs have completely changed their lives, providing them with money and a real boost to their self –esteem. Without the work of the Watford Workshop


many would not be working at all and would be at home on full benefits. Instead they have a great sense of purpose and enjoy going to work each day to get paid and see their colleagues. I can never stress enough the importance of


these small charities in Watford, that few people know about and that are working tirelessly that contribute so much to people‘s lives. I really enjoy spending time in Watford, be it


spending time at the Market, speaking to people in the street or visiting organisations and businesses. If you have a group or company that you would like me to visit please get in contact, and as always me and my team are here to help with any problems or queries you might have. I look forward to hearing from you!


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