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18
May
2016
|
18:01
Europe/London

Response to the Housing and Planning Bill receiving Royal Assent

cllrglanvillehigh-ressmall-2.jpg

Responding to the Housing and Planning Bill receiving Royal Assent, Cllr Philip Glanville, Cabinet Member for Housing, said:

“This Act will be hugely damaging to the social fabric of inner London boroughs like Hackney. It does nothing meaningful to address the capital’s housing crisis, improve the stability or affordability of private renting, or deliver on the homeownership aspirations of residents, the vast majority of who are currently priced out of a market which all too often serves developers and overseas investors at the expense of Londoners.

“As it stands, Hackney Council will be forced to sell off hundreds of homes to private buyers and many of our tenants could see their rents skyrocket. In both these instances the money generated goes straight to the Government. There will be far fewer genuinely affordable properties built on new developments, fewer homes available for struggling families living in temporary accommodation, and the Council will end up paying millions of pounds to cover various extra housing costs.

“The Act’s content has been criticised by housing experts and providers on all sides, and it’s disappointing Government chose to ignore the many sensible amendments proposed by the House of Lords. Very few people outside of Government think the content of this Act is a credible way of achieving its supposed aims, and even fewer think it will address the housing challenges faced by boroughs like Hackney.

“Throughout the Bill’s progress through Parliament we have been working hard to influence its policies and mitigate some of the worst proposals. This has led to some improvements, but overall the Act will still have a very negative impact on many of our tenants, on our housing stock, on our ability to support families in need, and on affordability in the borough.

“We will continue pushing Government to try to ensure the finer details of the Act’s policies are worked out in ways which help address the needs of Hackney and our aspiration to keep it one of the most vibrant, diverse and dynamic boroughs in the country.”

Some of the main impacts on Hackney, as the Act currently stands, are expected to be:

  • The Council forced to sell up to 700 Council homes on the open market over the next five years, properties currently used to house families living in temporary accommodation or people on lower incomes. Proceeds go to the Government to cover the extension of Right to Buy to housing associations.
  • Council households with a combined annual income of more than £40,000 will have to pay an extra 15p rent for every pound earned above this threshold. As an example, a household with a combined income of £50,000, who currently pay £434 a month (average social rent for a two-bed), would see their annual rent increase by £1,500, or an extra £125 a month (a 29 percent increase).
  • Far fewer genuinely affordable new homes built, such as shared-ownership or social rent, with the Council and developers pressured to build £450,000 ‘Starter Homes‘ instead. These will be unaffordable to most borough residents.
  • The Council having to spend an extra £18 million a year on housing-related costs due to the likely increase in the number of families in temporary accommodation and their longer wait for a home.

More information on the Act, how it will affect Hackney, and what the Council has done to influence its policies, is available on the Housing and Planning Act section of the Council’s website.