A House of Commons Select Committee yesterday warned that the proposals in the Government's Housing and Planning Bill to give housing association tenants the Right to Buy their homes could have a significant impact on the number of affordable homes built across the country.
The policy would see housing association tenants who exercise the Right to Buy offered a discount, funded by forcing councils to sell off their high-value council homes. This proposal would see Lambeth lose over 120 homes a year from this policy and Cabinet Member for Housing, Matthew Bennett, criticised the "grubby" deal between housing associations and the government when it was announced last year.
The report by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee said the proposal to extend the Right to Buy should be "funded by central Government, rather than through a levy on local authorities". The report followed evidence from Lambeth Council leader Lib Peck to the Select Committee in November, who told the committee that the plans were tantamount to “taxing a public authority like a council to pay for a private individual to enjoy the right to their own home”.
Commenting on the report, Cllr Peck said: "I'm pleased that the committee has argued that councils need the ability to retain funding from any sales to build new homes to replace those sold. As I told the committee, I have no problem with people exercising their Right to Buy, but I do have a problem with a formula that takes away our ability to build affordable housing and actually makes the situation of supply worse.
This is just one of the proposals in the Housing and Planning Bill which will make the housing crisis we face in London even worse. We're delighted to see growing opposition to the Bill in Parliament and we will continue to work with MPs, peers and our communities to oppose this Bill in every way we can."