There are fewer council homes in London than there were in 2016.
That’s according to figures provided at City Hall, based on the Government’s annual update for housing stock for the capital.
There’s no breakdown (yet) for housing numbers by borough, but the net loss of 3,620 council homes across the capital between 2016 and 2017, according to this official data, does not say much for the various “initiatives” from central government, the London Mayor and other local authorities to tackle the “housing crisis”.
Indeed, the net loss of council homes is mainly explained by the Tory Government’s very generous public subsidies for council tenants under the Thatcherite Right to Buy policy.
In Croydon, while the council’s wholly owned housing developer Brick by Brick has plans using public property and cash for 1,200 homes – more than 60 per cent of which will end up going for private sale – there has not been a new council home built since 2014. Croydon has been under Labour control since 2014.
According to the Government’s annual update on housing stock for London, new builds did not make up for homes lost due to demolition and Right to Buy for the first time since 2014. Housing associations added just 1,910 new homes last year, leaving a net loss of 1,710 in London social housing stock overall.
The Mayor’s Housing Strategy – published just last week – sets out policies and funding intended to increase council homes, and the Mayor has included “increasing the stock of social housing” as a marker of success in bringing in his new housing policies. It will be interesting to see how that is applied in Croydon.
Sian Berry, the Green Party London Assembly Member, said, “We desperately need more council homes – too many families who are entitled to social housing are waiting for years struggling to get by on low wages and paying exorbitant private rents.
“But these new figures show that officially we’re now actually going backwards for the first time in three years. The Mayor should be embarrassed that instead of new council homes, so far in his Mayoralty he has overseen a net decline in social housing.
“He must work harder to preserve the council homes we have by preventing demolitions, and needs to speed up the release of land and funding so that councils and communities can build more of the homes Londoners need.”
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