Mar 26 2013

Harrow Council’s call to Government about Right to Buy

harrow_council_logo2Harrow Council is urging the Government to allow local authorities to set their own right to buy discounts. It follows an announcement in the budget that discounts will rise to a maximum of £100,000 in London immediately and eligibility is proposed to reduce from five years of tenancy to three.

Harrow is in a unique position, we have one of the smallest council housing stocks in London – only 5,000 homes. The government has also capped the amount we can borrow, for example to help pay to build more homes. Homelessness is on a sharp increase due to government welfare reforms.

The increased discount means the Council has less money towards replacing the housing lost through the right to buy. This will mean less affordable housing for people who need them most. Whilst we have plans to build more affordable homes, overall we could continue to see a reducing stock of affordable housing at a time when it is most needed.

Harrow Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, Cllr Bob Currie, said: “The Government should take note of its own localism agenda and allow us to decide what is right for our borough. We have been talking to residents and produced a new housing strategy to make the most affordable housing available to households in priority need, and this government policy limits our ability to plan what’s best for Harrow. While we do want our tenants to have the choice of buying their own homes, if the Government is to press ahead with £100,000 incentives, then they should provide greater funding to help councils increase their housing stock.”

Source: Harrow Council

Footnote: we understand that Bob Currie, the aforementioned Portfolio Holder for Housing, who is quoted above, bought his council house under Thatcher’s right-to-buy scheme some years back. We’ve asked Bob, and are awaiting a response.

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