The Government has denied, through a spokesman at a Downing Street lobby briefing, that it is considering scrapping the right of council tenants to buy their own homes. The denial came following an outcry when housing minister, Lord Rooker, told delegates at the Labour Party rural conference in Newport, that too many people are buying their council homes and then letting them, fuelling the housing shortage in London and the South East.
He also said the scheme was ‘open to abuse’ and that councils were losing valuable resources as property prices continue to rise. ‘We did not say that you could buy your home and then become a landlord,’ said Rooker. He added that no final decision had been made.
The Government still contends that in London, council properties are bought cheaply, then let at London rates, squeezing out key workers and others on low pay from the capital, and has not denied that it is looking into the situation.
In the last 20 years, 1.5 million council houses have been sold off and there remains a further 2.7 million in council hands.