A recent report by the respected housing charity Shelter has identified that under the Conservative Government’s plans to sell off high value council homes would mean Westminster has to sell off a massive 76.3% of its much needed council homes as they become vacant. Shelter have identified that under currently proposed sell-off thresholds 9,213 of Westminster’s council homes would need to be sold off at a rate of 246 per year, higher than Westminster Council’s original estimates.
This comes at the same time as Westminster Council’s own research suggests that Government rent cuts could further restrict the council’s ability to build new homes. According to Westminster Council, the centrally imposed rent cuts of 1% per year for four years, while helpful for some working families, are primarily a mechanism to reduce the Government’s housing benefit bill that will cost Westminster’s Housing Revenue Account £32 million over the next 4 years and £237 million over the next 30 years, meaning major cuts either to the quality of existing properties or plans for new affordable house building.
The Council’s research also shows that the Government’s planned freeze on local housing allowance (housing benefit) in the private rented sector will see more families become homeless, requiring Westminster to find them somewhere to live.
Councillor Adam Hug, Leader of the Labour Group, says:
“It becomes clearer each day that the Conservative Government’s housing plans could sound the death knell for social housing in Westminster and the mixed communities it provides a home for. The Council must do more to challenge their Tory chums in Parliament and Whitehall to scrap the forced housing sales and think again about how to finance new homes.”