Government’s council homes pledge must align with housing needs

October 4th, 2017

Responding to reports that the Prime Minister will announce a major programme to build council homes, Labour’s London Assembly Housing Spokesperson, Tom Copley AM, said:

“Those of us who have been calling for a return to mass council housing building will be studying the small print of the Prime Minister’s announcement carefully before we begin to celebrate. Just how much positive impact this will have on London’s housing crisis will depend on the detail.

“Let’s not forget that when this policy was touted earlier this year, the Prime Minister was promising us social rents, only for the then Housing Minister to say they would be at the so-called ‘Affordable Rent’ which is much more expensive.

“If the government have now decided that they are going to deliver what we actually need, which is genuine council homes at social rent, they’ve got to get serious about supporting councils to build these new homes. This means lifting the cap on council borrowing to build, providing meaningful grant for councils and formally scrapping the postponed forced sale of high value council homes that still hangs over local authorities.

“Instead of wasting £10 billion further inflating house prices with Help to Buy, the Prime Minister should use that money to deliver 167,000 new social houses.

“If what the government is offering is homes at ‘Affordable Rent’ these won’t be real council homes and they won’t convince Londoners that they’re in touch with their housing needs.”

  • In May, Theresa May said the pledge to build a new generation of social housing would deliver “a constant supply of new homes for social rent”. However, the then Housing Minster, Gavin Barwell, said the homes would be at affordable rent.
  • Under Affordable Rent tenancies are offered at up to 80% of market rent levels within the local area.
  • Tom Copley AM is a Londonwide Assembly Member