Councillor criticises cheap sell-off of council homes
2:01pm Tuesday 15th October 2013 in News
SALES of council homes in the Stroud district has rocketed in the last year thanks to the Right to Buy scheme – but has been criticised for forcing the sale of council stock too cheaply.
Under the scheme, which allows councils' tennants to buy their homes at a discounted rate, Stroud District Council sold five of its housing stock to tenants from 2011 to 2012 but from 2012 to 2013, 22 were sold.
Only Exeter and Taunton Deane local authorities sold more of their housing stock in the South West in the same time, contributing to the 8,398 sales made nationally, which has been praised by Prime Minister David Cameron.
But Stroud District Cllr Mattie Ross (Lab, Stonehouse) who is chairman of the council’s housing committee said the Government had “robbed” the council of a large amount of housing stock.
“This government, while now allowing us to keep the receipts from the sales have also substantially increased the amount of discounts,” she said.
“While this may differ as to length of tenure etc, in Stroud district this does bring an average discount to£63,000 - a staggering half the value of the house.
“No one can blame our tenants for taking advantage of this generous offer, but this amount would not build or even purchase a replacement or new property for someone on the waiting list.
“While Right to Buy is good news for some, it is not for others. Social housing should, in my view, be for the people who need it most.”
Conservative Cllr Debbie Young (Chalford) who was the executive member for housing in the previous Conservative administration in the district said the scheme could change the way things were financed.
“Money raised from sales can now be used to build more social housing which is why £1.25million has now been put into the housing budget and was agreed at council last Thursday,” she said.
“This will allow the council to increase the money spent on the increasing number of empty homes, which is a concern to me.”
In the year to April 2013, a total of 8,398 council and housing association tenants took up the Right to Buy scheme in the country – more than double the sales seen in the previous year and the highest level since 2007.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the success of the re-invigorated scheme was opening up the prospect of home ownership to even more people in the South West and across the country.
"With many more people taking up the opportunity to buy their council home this year, the demand to make that step onto the housing ladder is clear,” he said.
Comments are closed on this article.