Housing

Meeting: 
MQT on 2004-03-31
Session date: 
March 31, 2004
Reference: 
2004/0419
Question By: 
Valerie Shawcross
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

What advice would the Mayor give to my constituent Cheryl Sanchez who has asked me to ask you When will Southwark Council freeze their right to buy policy, until more houses could be built? I certainly live is less than suitable accommodation. As a resident of Southwark for 7 years who is also single, I am not getting any sort of priority on the waiting list, where I have been for the last 3 years. Yet, I am one of the 23% of the employed residents, who regularly pay council tax of £69 per month plus £245 monthly income tax yet, I cannot get suitable housing in my own borough.)Southwark residents unable to afford high mortgage costs who have no immediate prospect of council housing ?

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Answer

Answer for Housing

Answer for Housing

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Southwark Council is not in a position to freeze the Right to Buy (RTB), as this is enshrined in law. The Deputy Prime Minister is, however, taking steps to restrict the RTB, especially in areas of high housing need such as London. In March 2003, for example, the maximum discount on a property in most areas of London (including Southwark) was reduced from £38,000 to £16,000. There are also measures for restricting the RTB and tackling profiteering by unscrupulous companies contained in the Housing Bill currently before Parliament. These include:- increasing the period during which a tenant has to live in their home before qualifying for the RTB from two to five years,- increasing the period during which a former tenant has to pay back the discount if they re-sell from three to five years,- giving councils first refusal on buying back a property is it is re-sold within ten years.I support the measures taken by the Deputy Prime Minister and the thrust of the proposals for reform of the RTB outlined in the Home Ownership Taskforce's recent report. I cannot comment on the individual circumstances of your constituent, but I am fully aware of the difficult situation faced by those on intermediate incomes who do not qualify for social housing. My London Plan contains a range of policies for increasing the supply of affordable housing, as does the London Housing Strategy which the GLA had a lead role in helping to develop. .