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Wednesday, 17th Jun 2015

Give us the Power to Build our Own Homes

Green Assistant Mayor Daniella Radice has today called on the Mayor to make the case for Bristol being given the powers to address its worsening housing crisis by Whitehall.

“When I took over as Assistant Mayor with responsibility for Council Housing I was pleased to see that the Council had a costed plan to build new council housing over 30 years. However, I was horrified to learn that even with this building programme we will still end up with less homes than we started with because of central government legislation, in particular Right to Buy.” she said. The current plans fit within the constraints of the housing revenue account rules on borrowing.

Radice explained:

“The Council provides homes at a rent that people on low incomes can actually afford. With a waiting list that has reached up to 14,000 families there is a huge need for homes at a truly affordable rent in our city. Council housing also saves central government money because the rent is lower than that charged by private landlords thus reducing the amount of housing benefit needed to provide families with a roof over their heads’.

Radice attacked the government's plans to extend Right to Buy to Housing Association homes;

“The government’s plan to force Councils to sell off their ‘high value’ houses to subsidise the sale of Housing Association homes is outrageous. It will jeopardise our council house building programme and so result in even fewer homes available for those that so desperately need them.” Evidence has shown that the treasury is taking more than its fair share of money from sale of right-to-buy homes, meaning that replacement has not been happening.*

The Assistant Mayor noted RTB is being abolished in Scotland and Wales. “I am appealing to the Mayor to lobby the government to extend the power of abolition to Bristol. When the referendum for a directly elected Mayor was imposed on England's major cities, the government promised new powers for those cities who voted in favour. Bristol was the only one of the major cities to vote in favour of an elected Mayor, but the government has repeatedly failed to deliver on that promise to Bristol.”

“Until Bristol is given the powers it needs to provide homes for those who need them, I will resist the government's ill-conceived proposals to my utmost ability.”

Further Information:

*"Treasury grabs £358m of right to buy receipts"
http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/treasury-grabs-358m-of-right-to-buy-receipts/7007621.article

 FOI request shows that despite government promises of a 1-4-1 replacement for any homes solds after the government increased RTB discounts to £75k in 2012, only £588.3m of the £1.54bn of RTB receipts has been used to fund replacement homes with £358m being hived off by the Treasury.

 "In cities where house prices are high, Right To Buy 2 is nothing less than social cleansing"
http://www.citymetric.com/politics/cities-where-house-prices-are-high-right-buy-2-nothing-less-social-cleansing-1086

Disccusses policy to fund RTB discounts for housing association properties by selling off most expensive thirds of council homes (15,000 per year). 

"It's time to call time on Right To Buy"
https://redbrickblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/its-time-to-call-time-on-the-right-to-buy/

"RTB has been a prolonged fire sale in which houses and flats have been sold at an average price of only £20,000."

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