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Colossal 1,840 Islington council homes could be sold under Tory plans

PUBLISHED: 17:25 27 May 2015 | UPDATED: 17:25 27 May 2015

Islington Council: 'Government plans could be destructive'

Islington Council: 'Government plans could be destructive'

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Town hall fears ‘destructive’ effect of extending Right To Buy scheme

A whopping 1,840 council homes could have to be sold to fund “destructive” new Conservative plans, the town hall has warned.

Today’s Queen’s Speech, which outlines the Government’s ideas for the next five years, extends the right to buy scheme to housing association tenants - allowing them to buy the home they live in at discounts of up to £100,000.

But the housing associations need to be compensated for the discounts - this would be funded by councils being required to sell their higher-valued properties as they become empty.

The cash from the sold homes is also meant to fund a house building drive.

But a report commissioned by Islington Council - along with Camden, Enfield and Haringey - gives a disturbing snapshot of how the policy could affect social housing across north London.

Key findings include:

- An estimated 3,500 homes to be sold across the four boroughs

- Sales of the empty properties unlikely to be enough to pay for the discounts, compensate housing associations for loss of their assets and build replacement homes

- An estimated time lag of at least two years from the sale of homes to replacement ones being built.

- Households displaced by the sales would have to be put up in temporary accommodation, which would effect the private rented sector and other council services.

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, said: “With Londoners already facing a huge housing crisis, this report shows that forcing councils to sell homes in high-value areas is likely to have a destructive impact right across the capital.

“Thousands of council homes would have to be sold, particularly in inner London boroughs, and the report underlines that there would be a big question mark over the Government’s promise that the homes would be replaced.

“We’ll see a fall in the number of council lettings, which in turn will push up private rents even further, particularly in outer London boroughs.

“This report seems to confirm what we feared – that the Government’s policy is wrong for London, both socially and economically, and will make our grave housing crisis even worse.”

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