A housing policy that pulls the plug

Interesting stories from The Observer this week…

Rowan Jones in the Observer profiles how London is beginning to lose its identity as the things that make the city special – the markets, pubs, high streets and communities – are becoming unrecognisable. He cites numerous examples where local authorities are planning “regeneration” projects, which he says are in fact demolition exercises, which obliterate social housing legacies for the sake of new developments with fewer social housing units.

Daniel Boffey gathers reaction to the government’s plans to offer 1.3m social housing tenants the option to buy their homes at a discount through the right-to-buy. James Murray, executive member of housing and development at Islington Council, says it is possible that local authorities in inner London will have to sell every new council home they build, as soon as they are ready, to finance the Conservative’s giveaway. He says it could be the death knell of the council home. Meanwhile, Henry Gregg, assistant director of communications and campaigns at the National Housing Federation, questions whether it was legitimate to bring in a new policy, given its frailties. “At a time when we need to be increasing the overall supply of social housing, it is like trying to fill a bathtub with the plug taken out,” he states. Mark Field, the Tory MP for Cities of London and Westminster, has called for a rethink on the policy: “It is a policy that arose during the election. There are some iniquities that need to be ironed out.”

Makes sense doesn’t it – spend money building them for people who can’t afford to buy their own home, then sell them off.

So the struggle to replace the council housing hole that Was started in the Thatcher years continues..

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