The Mayor of London will be questioned today (Thursday) over Government plans which could see more than 23,000 of the capital’s social rented homes sold off. Labour’s London Assembly Housing Spokesperson Tom Copley AM warned that plans to extend Right to Buy to cover housing association properties could “leave tens of thousands of Londoners on housing waiting lists with nowhere to turn” as councils’ social housing stock is sold off.
At Mayor’s Question Time Mr Copley will quiz the Mayor citing National Housing Federation (NHF) analysis which estimates that 23,445 London households are both eligible and able to afford the necessary mortgage under the new proposal and thus could be purchased if Right to Buy was extended.
Mr Copley warned the sale of more social housing would leave more than 255,000 families on London’s council housing waiting lists even less likely to ever be given a home they could afford. Last year only 16,173 affordable homes were built in the capital, that is 7,000 less than the 23,0000 which could be at risk if Right to Buy policy was extended to housing associations.
When questioned about the proposal before the election, London Mayor Boris Johnson said it would be “potentially extremely costly…. housing associations are private bodies, as we all know. It would involve massive subsidies. We would need to get the funds to support that.” Under questioning from Tom Copley, the Mayor said; “If you wish to oppose a policy that I do not support, you are more than welcome to do it.”
Labour’s London Assembly Housing Spokesperson Tom Copley AM said:
“Government should support both home ownership and measures to increase the supply of social housing, we won’t solve London’s housing crisis by sacrificing one in pursuit of the other. There’s no escaping that selling off housing association properties at big discounts would exacerbate the housing crisis and leave tens of thousands of Londoners on housing waiting lists with nowhere to turn.
“The Mayor previously told me that extending Right to Buy to Housing Associations would involve 'massive subsidies' yet this is one of his party’s flagship policies. Londoners need to know whether or not he will stand up and fight attempts to decimate our social housing stock.”