Lib Dem Appeal for Social Housing Review

The Party President of the Liberal Democrats has spoken in the House of Commons urging the Housing Minister to Launch a review of the Future of Social Housing in the UK.

Mr Tim Farron, Party President of the Liberal Democrats, has urged Mr Brandon Lewis, the Housing Minister, to launch a review on the future of Social Housing.

Citing Scotland as an example which has already suspended the Right to Buy under the powers of the Scottish Parliament, the Housing Minister has been urged to implement a review of the current policy.

In a question to the Housing Minister, Mr Brandon Lewis, he stated: ‘Given that in my constituency alone, Right to Buy has diminished our social housing stock from 7,500 to 3,000, while the price of a house is now 12 times the average salary, does he agree that in the true spirit of localism, local councils should have full control over Right to Buy, including the ability to suspend it, as Scotland has voted to do so.’

He said local authorities were seeing waiting lists increase and ‘rocket’, but did not have the power to replace existing stock.

In 2012, the maximum discount for Right to Buy council homes was increased to £75,000 – £100,000 in London.

Mr Farron added: ‘Westminster needs to wake up and admit that local authorities should have full control over this policy, instead of using it to fill the Treasury coffers.

‘They know their communities, their housing market and local needs best. They need the power to act.’

In the same debate, the Housing Minister said he did not ‘entirely agree’ with Mr Farron.

‘I believe that people who aspire to own their own home should have the opportunity to do so if they can afford it, because it allows them to have the pride of ownership not just in their home, but in their street and their neighbourhood,’ he said.

He argued that additional Right to Buy sales had been able to fund the building of new homes. ‘The additional receipts that are raised by local authority Right to Buy sales are now used directly to fund homes for affordable rent, thanks to the changes that the government have made,’ he added.

Footnote:

The main issues are fundamentally Supply and Demand based. There are not enough houses to meet modern demand. This is due to greater Demand caused by a greater number of households due to Divorce, fewer Children in households, Increased Longevity and immigration. Supply has not kept up with Demand due to the increase in Second Home Ownership, buy to let investors increasing demand and prices further limiting persons being able to afford to buy, right to buy artificially subsidising purchases and planning restrictions on new development.

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