Camden ‘worst hit in UK’ by government’s proposed council home sell-off

Camden Council could be forced to sell off nearly half its social housing stock

Camden Council could be forced to sell off nearly half its social housing stock - Credit: Archant

Camden Council would be forced to sell off more council homes than anywhere else in the UK under government plans to extend the controversial Right to Buy scheme to housing association tenants, new data has revealed.

The borough would have to sell off nearly half of its social housing stock, totalling more than 11,000 council homes, according to research by homelessness charity Shelter.

The government plans to fund the extension of the Right to Buy Scheme to housing association tenants by forcing councils to sell off their more valuable council homes.

They will be forced to sell off homes to private owners if valued above regional thresholds.

In London, the value over which homes would be sold ranges from £340,000 for a one-bedroom home, to £1.2million for a property with five bedrooms or more.

Shelter has calculated that there are 11,714 homes in Camden above the London threshold, amounting to 49.8 per cent of its social housing stock.

It predicts that 265 homes in Camden would need to be sold a year, in a report published today.

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But the charity says selling off large swathes of social housing in the country will still leave a £2.45billion black hole in the funding plan for the Right to Buy extension.

Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said: “More and more families with barely a hope of ever affording a home of their own and who no longer have the option of social housing, will be forced into unstable and expensive private renting.

“The government needs to scrap this proposal and start helping the millions of ordinary families struggling with sky high housing costs.”

He added: “Selling off large swathes of the few genuinely affordable homes we have left is only going to make things worse for all those struggling to keep up.”

Camden Conservatives will fight to reduce the impact of the extension of the Right to Buy scheme on the borough’s social housing stock.

The Tory branch have welcomed the government’s proposal to give housing association tenants the right to buy their own properties for the first time.

But the Tory group has pledged to fight for a higher threshold in Camden in response to Shelter’s report.

Cllr Oliver Cooper, Camden Conservative’s spokesman on housing, explained: “This would reduce the impact on Camden while giving everyone a chance to buy their own home.”

But he added that the policy was “brilliant”.

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “More council housing has been built since 2010 than in the previous 13 years.

“Councils should make the best use of their assets and manage their housing stock as efficiently as possible. So it is right that as high value council homes become empty they should be sold to fund new affordable house building in the same area.

“Our plans will also extend Right to Buy to more than a million housing association tenants, with every home sold replaced on a one-for-one basis. Details will be confirmed in the Housing Bill.”