The Tories don’t believe in the principle of social housing

An extension of Right to Buy will segregate communities, especially in London

The Tory manifesto launch has put housing centre-stage.

But while Labour’s manifesto includes a pledge to build 200,000 homes a year by 2020 and a roadmap to get there, the Tories’ headline policy is little more than an ill-conceived ploy to win a few votes at the cost of social housing.

The policy would extend right-to-buy to housing association properties, allowing those tenants the same deep discounts currently available to those who live in council-owned properties.

The result will be a further haemorrhaging of social housing, putting the promise of a secure place to raise their families even further out of the reach of low income workers.

London is going to take more than its fair share of the hit. A third of all right-to-buy sales are already in the capital. We can’t afford to lose even more of our social housing.

The Tories claim that homes lost to this new breed of right-to-buy will be replaced. But they’ve made that promise before, and it’s been revealed as a farce. Since the government increased the discount for council housing right-to-buy in 2012, nearly 26,000 social homes have been lost – only 2,700 have been replaced.

To make matters worse, the Conservatives also plan to force councils to liquidate about 5 per cent of their high-value council stock. This will segregate London further as the remaining council housing will be in polarised communities where the values are not so high. This is a hammer blow to the mixed communities that have become a hallmark of London.

The loss of social housing has damaging implications for people in all sectors. It makes it less likely that the hundreds of thousands on housing waiting lists will be given a place in social housing. That drives them into the private rented sector, where unscrupulous landlords who know the government will foot much of the bill through housing benefit drive up the rents.

That makes it even more expensive for those who do not receive housing benefit to find a decent home at a decent cost in the private rented sector, and those that do are unable to save up to afford a deposit to eventually buy their home as more and more of their income is spent on rent.

This announcement is no surprise – it is simply a continuation of the Conservatives’ systematic dismantling of social housing. They took away housing association grant. They forced providers to charge so-called Affordable Rent at up to 80 per cent of market rate, which is anything but affordable to Londoners on low and even middle incomes. The Tories don’t believe in the principle of social housing.

But we do. At a time when the average house price in London has topped half a million pounds, Labour realises that without social housing many Londoners will be left with the choice between squeezing into sub-standard private accommodation or moving out of the capital altogether. This is not the kind of London we want, nor is it the kind of London that would thrive as an economic and cultural hub.

That’s why Labour has a real plan to get house building going, including social housing. The roadmap laid out by Sir Michael Lyons in his Housing Review report recommends a more active role for local government in the assembly and preparation of land and in risk sharing partnerships with developers. It also calls for local authorities to establish New Homes Corporations as local delivery agencies to provide homes that people need in areas where they want to live.

Labour offers a positive and workable vision for addressing the housing crisis. All the Tories have been able to put out is an election gimmick that will do nothing except further drive up house prices.

Nicky Gavron is a member of the London Assembly and a former deputy mayor of London

15 Responses to “The Tories don’t believe in the principle of social housing”

  1. Peem Birrell

    Quelle surprise!

  2. Sparkyboy

    Yeah, but people don’t want to live in state housing, they want to own their own house.

  3. littleoddsandpieces

    LONDON SOCIAL HOUSING IS DOOMED

    Entire social housing estates, council or housing association, are being sold off to private developers to build luxury flats.

    The tenants rehoused as far north as Birmingham or Stoke-on-Trent, with far less chances of work.

    Housing just outside London is just as expensive as the city centre, as that is the commuter belt.

    The right to buy by council or housing association social enterprises, just means the new owners will immediately sell to a private developer, because of the huge mark-up they will get in the sale.

    TORIES HAVE ALREADY WON

    LABOUR CANNOT RULE ON ITS OWN EVER AGAIN

    Yougov polling prediction April 9th:

    277 Labour

    264 Tories

    28 Lib Dems

    326 MPs minimum threshold to form a UK parliament.

    TORIES OBLIGED TO STAY IN POWER

    In such a severe hung parliament, far below the minimum threshold, the Tories are obliged to stay in power in a caretaker government.

    SOLE WAY TO GET LABOUR INTO RULING UK PARLIAMENT
    IS TOGETHER WITH A MULTI PARTY GROUP OF PARTIES

    Some very old pensioners, the bulk of voters left, will vote as they have always voted for decades and bring in the fill in of the so-called big parties, who did not win in 2010.

    The non-voters had a landslide victory in 2010.

    Voting different by the non-voters actually voting is the true protest vote.

    THE WAY TO GET SOCIAL HOUSING FOR SURE

    SEE WHO THE PARTIES ARE THAT WOULD ENSURE SOCIAL HOUSING AND CAPPED RENTS

    HOW ENSURE REGISTERED TO VOTE (only have til Monday April 20)

    http://www.anastasia-england.me.uk

  4. Leon Wolfeson

    Keep making it up. People want housing, period, not to live on the streets, your plan for them.

  5. sarntcrip

    TORIES BELIEVE IN CARDBOARD CITIES BUT NOT IN THATAWFUL BEGGING EYESAW

  6. Ulysses Jefferson

    eyesore?

  7. Ulysses Jefferson

    Can I force my private landlord to sell me the house I’ve rented for last three years…will I qualify for a big discount?

  8. Leon Wolfeson

    Pst, it’s 5 years.

    And would lead to private landlord evicting people at 4 years 11 months, every time. Which social landlords can’t and won’t do.

  9. treborc1

    Well some may not all of these social landlords for example will rent to people who are out of work not forgetting of course Flint thought people out of work should not get social housing, they were needed for nurses and teachers who were are earning more now then ever before.

    Housing association have been selling houses for years mine has just told me the house I live in can be bought for £57,000 should I like it

    Housing association laws to allow them to sell was past by Major and came into being in 1997 and labour did sod all to stop it.

  10. treborc1

    But labour have also seen cardboard cites grow , Thatcher sold 1.5 million council houses built 380.000 new houses. labour sold a million built £7500 to replace those sold but worse they gave those out to larger families who were coming here from out side the EU

  11. Leon Wolfeson

    The major selloffs started in 1990. And no, Labour didn’t fix it. Didn’t suggest otherwise!

    Flint was not the person who had a final say in the system. And no, real pay for nurses and teachers is down, considerably.

    HA’s have seen sold *government-funded* properties, that they manage for the LA, or certain types of “transfer” (which amount to the same thing). Not their own stock.

  12. Leon Wolfeson

    Ah right, the old myths about the Other, and Labour didn’t fix what Thatcher did, no.

  13. Leon Wolfeson

    Thanks for your projection and wishes.

  14. Robert

    Myths no those are the facts labour sold as many houses but only replaced a fraction of the houses.

  15. Leon Wolfeson

    …Just like the Tories. They didn’t fix the situation the Tories caused, right. As I said.

Leave a Reply