Half Hackney Council’s housing stock in Hoxton and Stoke Newington may have to be sold

Members of the Hackney Renters consumer group protest outside Parliament over the Housing Bill

Members of the Hackney Renters consumer group protest outside Parliament over the Housing Bill - Credit: Archant

The government’s housing bill could have the effect of social cleansing in Hackney, Cllr Philip Glanville has warned.

Cllr Philip Glanville

Cllr Philip Glanville - Credit: Archant

The debate on the report stage of the bill was pushed back to late last Tuesday and went on until 2am, despite an attempt by Labour to get it postponed to a later date.

The housing bill focuses on home ownership, and will offer discounts of up to £102,700 in London and £77,000 in the rest of England to people renting from housing associations who want to buy their homes.

The policy would be partly funded by forcing councils to sell the top third of their most valuable council homes from their remaining stock.

Early indications now suggest that half of the houses in Hoxton and Stoke Newington could be valued over the threshold of £300,000, making them “high value assets” that must be sold on should they become empty.

“The impact on individual neighbourhoods is worse than we originally thought,” said Cllr Glanville, the cabinet member for housing.

“If someone passes away or they transfer because they need a ground floor property, or someone moves out of an overcrowded property or someone downsizes, if in the act of doing that we create a void, rather than see the home going to a homeless person we might be forced to sell that property.

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“Having a mixed community in Hackney where you have a range of people living and going to school together comes under threat with these changes.

“The way the government doesn’t seem to care about the impact you could be drawn to the conclusion it is like social cleansing,

“It is the cumulative impact of forced sales, starter homes not being affordable to people on Hackney incomes, and pay to stay where households with an income of over £40,000 pay something closer to market rent.

Members of Digs, a group set up to support Hackney renters labelled the bill as “one of the most dangerous and far-reaching pieces of legislation passed in this country in a long time”, and protested outside Parliament last week.