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Tory Right to Buy proposals would force sale of Southwark council homes


30 April 2015
Neil Coyle Willow Walk Labour councillors in Southwark have hit out at Tory plans which would force the council to sell homes in the borough.

The Tories are proposing to extend Right to Buy to housing associations funded by forcing councils to sell of their most valuable properties when they become empty. Southwark's Labour council predicts that the policy would affect 25-30% of all council properties, with 2 and 3 bed properties, street properties and homes in the north of the borough being the worst hit.

Under this policy councils would be forced to sell any 2 bed property worth £400,000, which would include many new properties in the north of the borough. Southwark is in the process of building 11,000 new council homes, but the Conservative policy would mean many of these new flats would have to be sold as soon as they were built. The council wouldn’t even get any money from the sale of these properties to invest in council housing, as it would go straight to housing associations who would be forced to sell off their own housing stock to tenants at below-market rates.

Cllr Richard Livingstone, cabinet member for housing, said: “Councils are already struggling to meet growing demand for housing and this disastrous policy would make it even harder. In Southwark this proposal would completely torpedo our plans to build 11,000 new council homes. We would be forced to sell new council properties as soon as they are built, instead of letting them to local residents in housing need. The policy would in effect, at the very least, stop the council from building any new homes north of the Old Kent Road.”

Neil Coyle, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, said: “This is a half baked, unworkable idea from the Tories which will mean fewer homes for local people. Under this Coalition Government the number of affordable homes built is at is lowest for 20 years and home ownership is at its lowest point for three decades.

“Labour's manifesto set out a better plan for all local first time buyers to get priority access to homes built. Labour will tackle the housing crisis getting at least 200,000 homes built a year by 2020 and introducing a £5 billion Future Homes Fund to support the building of homes for first time buyers and make homeownership a realistic aspiration for working people.”


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