The new Right To Buy is a terrible deal for Wandsworth

Councillor Simon Hogg listens to local people in York Gardens Library

Councillor Simon Hogg listens to local people in York Gardens Library

Speech to Wandsworth Council, October 14, 2015

The new Right To Buy is a terrible deal for Wandsworth.

The housing policies the Tories seems so proud of will cost Wandsworth tens of millions of pounds – and do nothing to help renters, the homeless or most people on ordinary incomes hoping to buy.

And, when you add them up, the policies will mean the slow death of social housing.

Right To Buy is a good policy when it helps council tenants become home-owners and a new council house is built from profit. But that’s not happening. It never has.

Let’s judge Wandsworth Tories on their record. In the last 25 years, 14,791 local council homes have been sold off and only 5,170 affordable homes built in their place. We’re 10,000 short.

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Wandsworth’s in a housing crisis – and the council just made it worse

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I have called a public meeting in the Town Hall tomorrow night (Tuesday, 6.30pm in Room 122) to discuss the housing crisis in Wandsworth. I hope you can come.

Private rents are up 14pc in a year, the average income of a homebuyer is now more than £100,000 and there are 6,000 people waiting for council flats.

Looking to buy? This parking space in Battersea costs £70,000, this garage in Tooting costs £315,000 and this former council flat in Latchmere costs £550,000!

Homelessness is on the rise and the Bedroom Tax is hurting hundreds of local families – you can read how it has affected one mother on the Shaftesbury Estate here.

The council should be working round the clock to help people move up the housing ladder. Instead they have decided to cut 45 roles from the housing department.

These job losses are not necessary. Wandsworth’s housing finances are in excellent shape and its officers widely respected.

Housing services are not paid for from Council Tax – they are paid for by people who live in council housing. Wandsworth charges the highest council rents in the country so its housing department is very well off. These cuts aim to save money from a rents account that has a predicted £1,800m surplus!

Wandsworth has a dreadful record on homeless families left in unsuitable B&B accommodation, yet it is proposed to reduce the size of the relevant team and add to its duties. Continue reading