The Lib Dems have called on the Mayor to make a public apology for giving the impression the number of social homes built had increased since he was elected, when in fact the reality is the numbers have all but stalled.
A Freedom of Information request has revealed that the number of new council homes built in Bristol over the last few years total:
- 2012/13 - 70
- 2013/14 - 6
- 2014/15 - 0
- 2015/16 - 8
The Lib Dems ran Bristol City Council from 2009 until the Mayoral system was introduced in late 2012. During this time they built the first new council houses in Bristol for 30 years, resulting in the number of social houses the Mayor inherited in his first year in office.
The party has this year promised to ensure that all suitable brown-field sites in the city are developed for new homes, including social and affordable housing stock.
Lib Dem Mayoral candidate, Dr Kay Barnard, said:
"Social housing faces great challenges with a rising housing waiting list and increasing pressure from the numbers of homes that continue to be lost through the Tories' Right To Buy scheme. The Tory government has extended this to Housing Associations, which is a backwards step for those on the housing waiting list.
"The dramatic fall in the numbers in Bristol is all the more lamentable as Stephen Williams, the former Lib Dem MP for Bristol West, introduced a policy when he was a Minister to relax borrowing controls for councils to build more social housing in 2014 and 2015. I cannot understand why the Mayor has not taken advantage of this.”
Lib Dem group leader Cllr Gary Hopkins added:
"The Mayor has repeated at hustings and in his literature that social housing has been improving under his watch. Frankly, he has been caught out. He cannot deny the facts and he should make a public apology.
"When we were in charge we stood up for Bristolians by building new council houses and by putting in place the infrastructure for that to continue. It is a disgrace that the good work we started has stalled under the Mayor's regime."