Labour councillors challenge Westminster Council to fight government's new Right to Buy scheme
PUBLISHED: 11:01 08 October 2015 | UPDATED: 11:29 08 October 2015
Labour councillors in Westminster have called upon the Conservative-led local authority to mount a legal challenge against the government's plans to sell off the borough council homes.
Cllr Vincenzo Rampulla, councillor for Church Street, has challenged Cllr Philippa Roe, the Conservative council leader and Cllr Daniel Astaire, the cabinet member for housing, to mount a legal bid against government plans to force the sale of housing to pay for the extension of Right to Buy to housing associations.
He said: “Back when councillor Philippa Roe wanted to be a candidate for London Mayor she said she would ‘bat for all Londoners’ and that tackling the housing shortage for lower income workers would ‘be at the core’ of her offer.
“She now needs to stick to those principles and join the other London councils looking to fight the government which is aiming to force a mass sell off of council housing which will spell disaster for families in Westminster.”
Westminster Council would be forced to sell 76.3 per cent of its social housing under government proposals to extend the controversial Right to Buy scheme to housing associations.
In London, the value over which homes would be sold ranges from £340,000 for a one-bedroom home, to £1.2million for a property with five bedrooms or more.
A report from housing charity Shelter identified that that under currently proposed sell-off thresholds, 9,213 of Westminster’s council homes would need to be sold off at an estimated rate of 246 a year.
A number of London councils, including Labour-led Ealing and Haringey, are drawing up plans for a potential joint legal challenge against the proposals.
Cllr Rampulla added: “Westminster Council cannot acquiesce with the government at the cost of local families needing affordable housing in Westminster.”
Cllr Astaire refused to say if he agreed with government sell-off proposals or if Conservative councillors would join a legal bid.
Instead he said: “It is important that housing related policies support London’s housing mix and that receipts from London, are spent in London, to provide much needed affordable homes for low income and working households.”
Cllr Roe did not respond to the Wood & Vale.