Tuesday, 17 January 2017

PM pledges 'two for one' replacement in London

David Cameron has reached an agreement with Zac Goldsmith to build two sub-market homes for every high-value council property sold in London.

In a newspaper article today co-authored with Mr Goldsmith, the prime minister said the government would “ensure that for every council house sold [to fund the Right to Buy extension], at least two affordable homes are built” in the capital.

His disclosure follows an amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill, laid out by Mr Goldsmith, MP and Conservative London mayoral candidate, which would have reduced the levy London councils pay government for the sale of high-value properties.

Under the bill, which is currently at report stage, councils will be charged a levy based on their high-value, empty housing stock. This will be used to pay for the extension of the Right to Buy to housing associations and will fund the discounts on housing association Right to Buy sales.

Mr Goldsmith’s amendment, tabled in November, was intended to allow the provision “of at least two new units of affordable housing for the disposal of each unit of high value in London”.

His other amendment to the bill would “impose a duty on the secretary of state, the mayor of London and London housing authorities to achieve the provision of at least two new units of affordable housing for the disposal of each unit of high-value housing within the Greater London area”.

Mr Goldsmith’s amendment was withdrawn at the committee stage of the Housing and Planning Bill, with the government agreeing to bring its own amendment.

Mr Cameron said the forthcoming change to the government’s bill was “as a result of Zac’s amendment to the Housing Bill”.

However, the government has not yet published its amendment and it is unclear how it will differ to that of Mr Goldsmith’s.

London mayor Boris Johnson last year offered to build an additional 15,000 homes in London a year, in exchange for a ringfence around the receipts from the sale of council homes.

Mr Johnson has previously voiced concerns about funds flowing out of London in order to pay for Right to Buy discounts across England.

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