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Labour must fund councils to buy private rental homes - expert’s call

A prominent housing journalist says Labour should fund councils to buy homes directly from private landlords to rapidly increase the size of the social rented stock. 

It could also empower social housing providers to step in and buy up any stranded developments private builders can no longer sell if a market downturn occurs.

These demands come from Peter Apps, the deputy editor of trade publication Inside Housing. Writing on the Labour List website Apps accuses the Conservative government of deliberately running down the social housing stock.


He writes: “When the Conservatives first came to power in 2010, the figure [for families in temporary accommodation] was 49,680 – which means they have succeeded in doubling it. This is a terrible indictment of the last 13 years of housing policy. It has been a deliberate political decision to cut off the supply of new social rented housing, increase the rate at which existing homes are sold off and radically reduce entitlement to benefits while allowing private rents to grow.”

In the article Apps urges Labour to concentrate less on private home ownership and to shift emphasis to a new generation of social housing, funded directly by councils.

“More social rented housing would transform people’s lives far more than tinkering with increasingly unaffordable mortgage products. Social rent will provide opportunities to families without existing property wealth. It would allow them to save money that would otherwise be sucked up by private landlords and give their children the security to save for a home of their own – if they want to. It would also reduce demand on the cheapest end of the private rented market, easing pressure on those who rent privately” Apps claims.

He calls for other measures such as replacing Right To Buy with a discount scheme for social housing tenants to buy mainstream private housing. 

“If Labour were to combine all that with the removal of welfare cuts, such as the cap on local housing allowance, it would stand a chance of making a real difference to the worst of the housing crisis, and quickly” he says.

You can see his full article here.

  • jeremy clarke

    Cheaper for councils to build!


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