Thousands of council homes are likely to be forcibly sold to help fund the extension of Right to Buy after plans were announced by the Tory Government.
In Islington alone, an estimated 1,840 vital council homes could be sold in the first 5 years of this disastrous policy.
The Tory Government included plans in the Queen's Speech to allow more housing association tenants to buy the homes they live in at a discount under the Right to Buy policy. To fund this extension, the Government will force councils to sell higher-valued properties as they become empty.
Islington has joined forces with several other London Boroughs to investigate the impact this policy will have, discovering that as many as 3,500 council homes could be sold in Islington, Camden, and Haringey alone within the first 5 years.
Cllr James Murray (pictured), Islington Council’s Executive Member for Housing, commented: “With Londoners already facing a huge housing crisis, forcing councils to sell homes in high-value areas is likely to have a destructive impact in Islington and right across the capital.
“Thousands of council homes would have to be sold, particularly in inner London boroughs, and the report we have produced underlines that there would be a big question mark over the Government’s promise that the homes would be replaced. We'll see a fall in the number of council lettings, which in turn will push up private rents even further, particularly in outer London boroughs.
“This report seems to confirm what we feared – that the Tory Government's policy is wrong for London, both socially and economically, and will make our grave housing crisis even worse.”
The key findings of the report were -
- Around 3,500 homes can be expected to be sold across Camden, Haringey and Islington in the first five years of the new policy.
- The sales of empty properties is not likely to be enough to pay for the right-to-buy discounts, to compensate housing associations for loss of asset, to build replacement homes and also contribute to a brownfield fund
- Even if the Government's proposal for replacing homes works, there would be an estimated time lag of at least two years from the sale of homes to replacement ones being built. The report uses DCLG data to estimate that this would result in 579 families with children and 385 homeless households being unable to get a council tenancy in the first two years.
- Many families unable to get a council tenancy would face the prospect of remaining in overcrowded homes, whilst households who are underoccupying would likely take remain in their home for longer before downsizing.
- Homeless households would have to enter or remain in temporary accommodation. This is likely to have an effect on the private rented sector and on other council services in outer London boroughs as inner London boroughs rent homes for use as temporary accommodation outside of their own boroughs.