Westminster Labour has condemned Council plans to sell 37 flats at auction when there are over 2,500 families in temporary accommodation.
Labour say that the flats should not be sold but let to people in housing need. In addition, the Council should be building more homes for rent and insisting on a higher proportion of social housing to be included in new private developments.
The Council say that it will spend the money it gets from selling the flats on buying back at full market price former Council flats sold at a discount under the Right to Buy. Recently, the Council has been buying former Council flats in Brent and Camden , rather than in Westminster.
Following enquiries by Labour Councillors, the Housing Department says:
“In response to your request for information in relation to properties earmarked for disposal, I have now received the following response from the Asset Investment Manager, who has advised as follows:
We currently have the 15 in auction this month:
|Area||Bedsit||1 bed||2 bed|
We also currently have 10 units planned for sale post September:
|Area||Bedsit||1 bed||3 bed|
There are also 10 properties are being considered for decant use before they continue to disposal and there are 2 properties recently received from the voids team which are being assessed.”
Councillor Pancho Lewis, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Housing, said:
“Under the Conservatives, both in government and at Westminster Council, levels of homelessness and rough sleeping has sky-rocketed. This has been caused by a lack of regulation of the Private Rented Sector, cuts to housing benefit, and a welfare system which has been rolled back, leaving the vulnerable more vulnerable still. And now, what do we see? They’re auctioning off social homes in the City of Westminster, as if it were all a game. It really adds insult to injury.
“What we need is a radically different approach. Investment from the Government to deliver a mass council housing programme facilitated by a Council that is genuinely committed to helping those in need. A Labour government and a Labour council would work day in day out to achieve that outcome.”