Thursday August 28, 2014, The Gazette page 3
£10m raised in three months by selling off council housing
More than £10million has been raised in just three months selling off Islington
Council homes – but the lion’s share could disappear into a government “black hole”.
The sale of 65 properties under the Right To Buy (RTB) scheme between April and June has had town hall tills ringing to the tune of £10.2m – an estimated £22million over the last year.
But RTB rules, which give council tenants the chance to buy their home for £100,000 less than the market value, mean up to 75 per cent of the cash goes back to the government coffers.
In addition a secret deal between the town hall and Partner for Improvement in Islington (PFI), who manage Islington’s street properties, means the authority have to dish out up to £40,000 every time a PFI property is sold.
Brain Potter, chair of Islington Leaseholders Association, said: “I support RTB as long as the money is ploughed back into much needed housing for the borough.
“But of that £10million at least £7million is going to central government where it disappears into a black hole.
“No one know what happens to it, but it certainly never come back to Islington The receipts should stay in the borough. If we got to keep all that money, they wouldn’t be talking about things like libraries closing.”
Brandon Lewis, housing and planning minister said: “Critics of RTB are enemies of home ownership, and fail to appreciate the wider benefits of helping people move on and up the housing ladder.
“So far, RTB sales have generated over £500 million in receipts to be reinvested in new affordable homes, and council house building starts are now at a 23-year high.
“More council housing was built in London last year than all 13 years of the last Government.