The big council house sell-off

Camden council is being forced to sell off 500 properties to pay for a £242 million repair bill
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Camden council has announced plans to sell off 500 of its existing rented properties, in order to pay an estimated £242 million repair bill for the rest of its housing stock because the Government is refusing to provide the cash. The news emerged as the Queen’s Speech in Parliament promised the building of millions more homes and an increase in council-house stock.

Under the headline Investing in Camden’s Homes, the council is advertising its intention to sell vacant homes to private buyers to raise money for the repairs. But tenants are opposed to the plan. Members of the Defend Council Housing campaign are now busy knocking on doors and getting people mobilised against it.

Liberal Democrat council leader Keith Moffitt said there was no option but to sell, as the Government would not give Camden the funds needed to bring council homes up to its own decency standards. It is estimated that £242 million will be required for this. The Government has made financial support conditional on the council privatising the management of its housing stock.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “We have not yet taken a view on Camden’s proposals. Our policy in general is to make it easier for councils to build homes, and we are expecting all areas to increase the number of social homes.”

Liberal Democrat housing spokesman Paul Holmes MP said: “This is the Government’s fault for refusing to give Camden the money it needs for repairs unless it privatises the management. The tenants are sensibly opposing this, and the Government is punishing them for not toeing the line.”

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