Housing and homelessness charity Shelter has revealed the potentially devastating impact of government plans to sell off council housing, with new research showing that 5,840 council homes in the West Midlands could face being sold on the private market. The proposed scheme would force council homes worth more than a set threshold for the region to be sold once they become vacant. The money would then be used to fund new discounts of up to £100,000 for housing association tenants taking up the Right to Buy.
According to the charity’s estimates, Warwick would be the worst hit area in the region. Here close to 1,990 homes could face forced sale - equivalent to nearly 36% of the area’s total council housing stock.
Solihull could be forced to sell over 18% of their total council housing stock, or around 1,880 homes, once they become vacant and Birmingham approximately 860 homes, or 1.4% of their total stock.
Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said:
“At a time when millions of families are struggling to find somewhere affordable to live, plans to sell off large swathes of the few genuinely affordable homes we have left is only going to make things worse.
“More and more families with barely a hope of ever affording a home of their own and who no longer have the option of social housing, will be forced into unstable and expensive private renting.
“The government needs to scrap this proposal and start helping the millions of ordinary families struggling with sky high housing costs. If George Osborne is serious about turning around the housing crisis, the autumn spending review is his last chance to invest in the genuinely affordable homes this country desperately needs.”