by Iain Roberts on 15 October, 2015
Stockport’s council leader Sue Derbyshire has joined Lib Dem leader Tim Farron in attacking Government proposals to sell off council homes. Stockport desperately needs more council houses, not less.
The letter from Sue and other Lib Dem leaders reads:
As Liberal Democrat council leaders we are outraged at the government’s short-sightedness in selling off council homes to pay for the right-to-buy extension to housing associations (PM warns councils over housing provision, 12 October). We have a vast shortage of affordable homes, which constitutes nothing short of a national emergency, and yet the government is seeking to make quick financial gains by disposing of properties that could provide much-needed homes for generations. Forcing right to buy on housing associations was the wrong policy before the election and it remains the wrong policy now. Shifting homes from one tenure to another without addressing our failure to build enough homes overall is like rearranging the deckchairs on a sinking ship.
Housing policy must be fair, and this policy is anything but. It is unfair to the 1.6 million people desperately waiting for homes, unable to get on with their lives. It is unfair for renters, whose rents will be pushed up as more families are squeezed into the private rented sector. And it is unfair for taxpayers who will be footing a higher housing benefit bill. Slashing the number of affordable homes in crucial areas is a nonsensical decision, and we urge the government to reconsider this sell-off.
If the government is serious about tackling this national emergency, they should listen to Lib Dem leader Tim Farron’s call for immediate action to allow councils to borrow funds to build. This would demonstrate a genuine commitment to building the homes that we desperately need.
Dorothy Thornhill Elected mayor of Watford and Lib Dem local government spokesperson,
Cllr Ruth Dombey Leader, London Borough of Sutton,
Cllr Steve Jordan Leader, Cheltenham borough council,
Cllr Paul Smith Leader, Colchester borough council,
Dave Hodgson Elected Mayor of Bedford,
Cllr Peter Thornton Leader, South Lakeland district council,
Cllr David Tutt Leader, Eastbourne Borough Council,
Cllr John Boyce Leader, Oadby & Wigston borough council,
Cllr Sue Derbyshire Leader, Stockport metropolitan borough council,
Cllr Ann Shaw Leader, Three Rivers district council