Search

Right to Buy policy attacked as 1,500 Camden Council homes are set to be sold off

PUBLISHED: 08:00 26 June 2015

Picture: PA Images/Dominic Lipinski

Picture: PA Images/Dominic Lipinski

PA Wire/Press Association Images

More than 1,600 council homes in Camden and Haringey are predicted to be sold off over the next five years as a key legacy of Margaret Thatcher’s is extended to force councils to sell their most valuable houses.

Cllr Patricia Callaghan, Camden Council cabinet member for housing, has attacked the policyCllr Patricia Callaghan, Camden Council cabinet member for housing, has attacked the policy

The Tory government is to expand the Right to Buy scheme – which allows public sector tenants to buy their council homes at a discount – to include those living in housing associations.

It would see councils forced to sell their most valuable homes as they become vacant, with receipts used to build replacement housing.

But a report commissioned by Camden and Haringey councils has slammed the viability of the policy, claiming the cost won’t be met through the sale of homes alone – making additional borrowing for councils “inevitable”.

The report, authored by think tank Liverpool Economics, predicts 1,509 homes will have to be sold by Camden Council from its stock of 22,200 in the first five years, with Haringey Council forced to sell 115 of its 15,400.

Oliver Cooper, Camden Conservative's representative for housing, said the Right to Buy policy should be seen as a successOliver Cooper, Camden Conservative's representative for housing, said the Right to Buy policy should be seen as a success

The report warns the local authorities will struggle to find land to build replacement homes.

An estimated two-year lag time between any replacement homes being available could, the report also claims, mean hundreds of extra families and homeless people being denied a council home.

Haringey Council leader Claire Kober said: “This counterproductive policy would choke the supply of new homes across London at the very time our city is battling a chronic housing shortage.

“Forcing councils and housing associations to sell off the few affordable homes that remain in areas where prices are skyrocketing will only serve to exacerbate – not resolve – the housing crisis.

“The government’s tight restrictions on reinvesting money from sales under the current Right to Buy scheme mean only one house has been built for every ten sold, so it’s unfeasible that extending the same policy will lead to a sudden rise in house building.

“The research shows that, far from helping families onto the housing ladder, this policy would leave the simple right to an affordable home further out of reach for many in London.”

Cllr Pat Callaghan, Camden Council cabinet member for housing, added: “Right to Buy has already had an impact on housing available for those most at need in the borough. Forcing councils to sell will kill off investment, stall house building and mean that London’s communities will no longer be mixed and vibrant.”

The past five years has already seen a surge in the number of council tenants taking advantage of the Right to Buy scheme – leading to a significant transfer of wealth from public to private hands in north London.

Figures from a Freedom of Information request show that while just eight council homes in Camden were bought under the scheme in 2011, this rose to 137 council homes in 2014.

In Haringey, there were also just eight sales in 2011, increasing to 213 in 2014.

The rise coincides with a prior expansion of the scheme in 2012, boosting discounts to council tenants from £16,000 to £103,900.

With the market value of council homes sold in Camden between 2011 and May 2015 at £84million (at an average value of about £300,000), the council has lost more than £27m from discounts.

Cllr Oliver Cooper, Camden Conservative’s spokesman on housing, said the policy should be seen as a success.

He said: “It’s brilliant that more people are taking advantage of this scheme and if you speak to council tenants they are largely supportive of this policy. Labour has misunderstood the entire discussion on Right to Buy and they seem intent on denying people the opportunity to be homeowners.

“The success of the scheme is not dependent on a one-to-one replacement and it doesn’t reduce the ability of the borough to provide housing. With each council home sold it reduces the number of people in social housing and provides money for new housing.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 18:06

A young man was stabbed in Kentish Town this afternoon.

Yesterday, 16:15

Police are trying to find Nadia Ellewood, who has gone missing from Belsize Park.

Yesterday, 13:35

Police chased a Volkswagen Polo across three boroughs on Monday morning after it crashed into a patrol car at low speed.

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Crouch End inventor is crowdfunding to launch an innovative and wearable air pollution monitor inspired by his own worries as a new dad.

Friday, December 7, 2018

British Transport Police are looking to speak to a man about three women being racially abused on an underground train.

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Carlton Tavern could be reopened in April, nine months after the planning inspectorate told them to rebuild it.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Coffee isn’t the only thing Deniz Korkmaz is brewing up in Kentish Town.

Friday, December 7, 2018

We chat to five local designers and artists who tell us about the one thing they must have or do at home that puts them in the Christmas mood

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now