Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Selling off social homes 'oversimplifies problem'

A right-leaning think tank’s recommendation social landlords should sell off their most expensive homes ‘oversimplifies the problem’, says the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Policy Exchange released its report Ending expensive social tenancies today which claims housing associations and councils could generate enough cash to fund up to 170,000 new homes a year by selling off high value social homes when they become vacant.

Gavin Smart, director of policy and practice at CIH, said landlords should make the best use of their properties.

But he added: ‘The report oversimplifies the challenges landlords face in managing their homes. A mandatory system of property disposals does not allow space for the flexibility that housing practitioners need if they are to manage their housing stock effectively.’

Mr Smart also suggested the proposals risked ‘blaming social tenants for the consequences of the last property bubble’.

Paul Dimoldenberg, Westminster Council’s leader of the Labour group, said the local authority had lost just over 9,000 flats in the past 30 years through right to buy.

‘What makes the Policy Exchange think that selling another 12,000 council flats is going to make things easier for Westminster residents in housing need?’ he asked.

‘On the contrary, these proposals will make life more difficult for thousands of hard working West end families and will simply hand over property and profits to buy-to-let landlords.’

Sarah Hayward, leader of Camden Council said: ‘We believe the widespread sale of social housing to fund rebuilding programmes is wrong and fails to grasp the needs and complexity of housing mixed communities in some of the most deprived areas of the country.

‘Here in Camden we have over 20,000 people waiting for accommodation in social housing. Raising funds by selling off properties is a false economy. It would be equally as expensive to purchase land in central London and commence a re-building programme, re-providing the homes sold.’

Jack Dromey MP, Labour’s shadow housing minister, said: ‘Councils and housing associations should make effective use of their housing stock but the government should not force them to arbitrarily sell-off social homes, breaking-up mixed communities and driving out hard-working families on low wages from whole neighbourhoods.’

Seyi Obakin, chief executive of youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, said: ‘New approaches to tackle the affordable housing crisis are needed but we are concerned that concentrating social housing in less affluent areas could build up problems for the future, especially for the hundreds of vulnerable young people we support at Centrepoint.’

What people are saying on Twitter

@teresadric HgAssns would love freedom to do this - but Policy Exchange blanket rule would not work

@Jameel_Malik HAs have £43 billion locked up in HMG capital grants (2010/11 account). Y not let HAs unlock this grant & use it. 

@jeremycorbyn Tory policy exchange plan massive social cleansing - time to build Council houses and control private rents   

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