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Opinion Number: CDR 71/2011
Rapporteur: HUTCHINSON Alain
Commission: ECOS-V
Status: Adopted
Date: 11/10/2011

- calls on the Member States to ensure that all citizens can afford housing by basing rent increases on an objective system which ensures moderate increases in property prices and adapting tax policy to limit speculation;

- welcomes the fact that the Commission, as previously called for by the Committee of the Regions, on 19 September 2011 proposed a new approach to enlarging the scope of the local and social services of general economic interest - including social housing - exempted from the notification requirement; points out in this connection that it is up to the Member States and local and regional authorities to define services of general interest in the context of social housing policy, and the way in which they must be made available; and also stresses that it is not within the Commission's remit to establish the conditions for allocating social housing or to define the categories of household whose basic social needs cannot be met by market forces alone;

- therefore calls for energy-related housing renovation in the context of social cohesion to remain eligible for European Union structural funds, while giving each region greater flexibility in terms of the amount of funding allocated to this activity; also believes that the Structural Funds must make effective use of the partnership principle and that the Member States must be encouraged to cooperate with local and regional authorities to set priorities and determine how the funding should be used;

- emphasises that inadequate housing conditions have a significant impact on health and that providing better housing means that residents do not have to suffer the adverse effects of overcrowded, damp, cold and poorly ventilated housing; adds that a lack of housing is a source of both stress and distress adversely affecting the quality of life, health and wellbeing for individuals, families and society.
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