Tories’ Right to Buy extension could fuel housing crisis claims Hackney’s housing chief

Cllr Philip Glanville

Cllr Philip Glanville - Credit: Archant

“Ill-thought out” Government proposals to extend the Right to Buy scheme have been likened to a “bomb”, which could fuel the housing crisis and force the mass sell off of Hackney Council’s social housing stock.

At an emergency Housing Committee meeting called at the London Assembly to discuss the plans being pushed through by the Tories, the council’s housing chief Philip Glanville said the proposed extension had “dropped a bomb right in the middle of our plans”.

The scheme will see local authorities be forced to sell off their high-value council homes on the open market when they become vacant, to fund the scheme to hand around 1.3 million housing association tenants the chance to “make their dreams a reality” and buy their own home.

But inner London boroughs like Hackney where house prices are high fear the proposals would mean swathes of its social housing stock would become eligible for compulsory sale.

Cllr Glanville, cabinet member for housing, said: “This extension of the Right to Buy policy will reduce still further the number of council and housing association homes for social renting in Hackney – hardly a solution to London’s housing crisis, and in fact making it worse. The council itself is building hundreds of new council homes for social renting in the next few years, so it is not sensible to have to sell them off as soon as they are built to pay for this ill-thought-out policy’s discounts. We have even heard that the rest of these housing funds might leave London – it’s madness.”

The council is working on figures for how many homes for social renting will be lost by the council and by housing associations in the borough through the policy, which Cllr Glanville predicts will “include much-needed two and three-bedroom flats on Shoreditch estates, not just big council houses in leafy streets”.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “It’s important councils make the best use of their assets and manage their housing stock as efficiently as possible. So it’s right that as high value council homes become empty they should be sold to fund new affordable housebuilding.”