Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Southwark leader rules out large-scale sale of stock

The Labour leader of London’s largest local authority landlord has insisted that the council will not sell off half of its stock.

Responding to an independent report into housing in Southwark, council leader Peter John ruled out large-scale sales, saying that ‘it would go against all our beliefs’ if it followed advice to drastically reduce stock.

Southwark Council’s housing commission earlier this week outlined three ways that the council could sustain social housing beyond 2015/16. These were: to reduce the council’s current stock of 39,000 to 20,000 by 2045; to allow the stock to reduce gradually to 30,000 through right to buy and void sales; or to invest substantially in a new build programme to maintain stock at its existing level.

Mr John categorically ruled out the option to halve the stock, adding ‘it will not happen on our watch’.

He said: ‘At a time when Southwark Labour has pledged to build 1,000 new council homes by 2020, it would go against all our beliefs to reduce our stock by 20,000 in the 20 years after that.

‘By ruling this option out immediately I want to move the debate on and ensure we get to the purpose of this report which is to have a mature discussion about the future of council housing. As a council with the largest stock of council housing in London, this issue is too big and too important.’

The year-long study, headed by prominent housing lawyer Jan Luba QC and supported by think tank The Smith Institute, is expected to be seen as offering a potential blueprint for other local authorities considering the future of their housing stock.

‘I hope that other councils and the parties nationally will look at this report as it makes clear the extent of the housing time bomb this country faces,’ continued Mr John.

Earlier, opposition Liberal Democrat councillors had claimed that the report was ‘softening people up for a council home sell-off’.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson Tim McNally also questioned whether the £104,000 report was value for money, claiming ‘it doesn’t tell us a lot we don’t already know’.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Matt Murdock

    It may not tell Cllr McNally much that he doesn't know but it does tell a lot of others in the sector (and wider) what the housing situation is, the stark choices facing us and identifies the reasons why we got into this mess in the first place!

    I hope it stimulates a reasoned debate and moves away from political posturing so that real solutions can be identified.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I agree Matt - i just wonder how reasoned that debate can be when one option has been shelved already. Unfortuanetly, nothing is off the agenda here includign sellign stock as its clear that Southwark have issues with investing enough to maintain their current stock, let alone commit to building 1,000 new homes. The main area i hope there is a debate is around HRA and how the system can be tweaked to make sure LA's have the true freedoms they were promised.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up

More Newsletters

Related

Articles

  • Jousting over housing

    09/05/2014

    With campaign season fast approaching, would-be councillors are taking a stab at the housing crisis to win votes. Caroline Thorpe discovers their battle plans

  • Cable: Lib Dems would allow councils to suspend the right to buy

    6 October 2014

    Business secretary Vince Cable told his party conference in Glasgow today the Liberal Democrats would allow councils to suspend the right to buy.

  • Meet housing’s alchemists

    27/06/2014

    Keith House and Natalie Elphicke have been tasked with finding out how councils can get more homes built with no extra borrowing. Here, Jess McCabe tries to find out if they have the golden touch

  • The day after

    13 November 2013

  • Housing hocus pocus

    14/03/2014

    Councils can now borrow more to fund new housing. But is George Osborne’s latest trick of an extra £300 million enough to magic up 10,000 affordable homes? Ben Cook investigates

Resources

  • Express yourself

    06/12/2013

    A research study in Merseyside aims to prove that artistic therapy can help people with Alzheimer’s and their families cope better with the disease. Ciara Leeming investigates

  • The apprentice

    17/01/2014

    Faced with thousands of pounds of debt and uncertain job prospects, school leavers are increasingly taking up apprenticeships as an alternative to university. Gwen Smith meets apprentice turned housing officer Jordan McKenna to discover the benefits of learning on the job

  • Precision thinking

    15 January 2014

    Analysis of its lets, voids and tenancy lengths has allowed Adactus Housing Group to cut its planned maintenance bill by millions of pounds a year and plough the savings into developing new homes. Kate Youde finds out how

  • Expert opinion

    15/11/2013

    Too often services are set solely around meeting targets, regardless how much it costs or what the end user needs

  • Trade secrets

    13/06/2014

    Can learning from other sectors help social landlords do their jobs better? Heather Spurr visits retail icon John Lewis with a number of landlords to find out

IH Subscription

- IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT -

 

You will soon need to sign into www.insidehousing.co.uk using your email address rather than your username.

If you are unsure which email address is linked to your account, please Click Here. Your password will remain the same.

If you have a print subscription we need to ensure that we have the correct details in order to link your subscription to your online account, for more information Click Here.

Click here to close window