Scrap the right to buy and start building social housing

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From: Keith Bagot, The Terrace, Honley, Holmfirth.

WITH regard to the housing crisis within all our local councils in the UK. This crisis has actually come about because the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher decided to sell off council properties under the right to buy scheme.

This has now been shown to be one of the most disastrous policy decisions that her government took, and sadly this scheme is still running to this day.

The policy would have been good, if only councils had been allowed to reinvest the money back into social housing, by creating a building programme.

Also, the councils should not have had to give such large discounts on the right to buy policy. This is why all our councils around the UK are having major problems with this Government’s new policy, fondly called the “bedroom tax” by everyone except the Conservatives.

Personally, I think this policy is immoral, as the council is taking money and not even giving the tenant a chance to downgrade their tenancy.

Now all we hear from the Government is that we need affordable housing. I would beg to differ here; I think we need more social housing, built for and run by the council. Surely it must be cheaper doing it this way?

So, first the Government needs to stop the right to buy scheme. Secondly all councils need to set up a building programme to replenish council housing stock. All councils need to build one, two and three-bedroom properties as a priority.

At one time a council house was not for life, it was on a yearly contract, as I remember, and it certainly depended on how you looked after the property, especially the garden. If all wasn’t kept clean and tidy you had a warning and could be evicted. I believe those rules should be brought back in for all of council tenants today. It appears today that council housing is certainly taken for granted. There needs to be a stricter approach in drawing up the contracts of social housing and most definitely to a stricter management style of inspection and adherence to the management of the property.

I have to say when I walk around our social housing some tenants leave the garden overgrown, have it looking like a tip, some even full of old furniture etc. Years ago this would not have been allowed. The authority should be going out and inspecting all properties on a regular basis, and then taking the relevant action immediately, instead of letting things slip into such a bad state. Neighbours these days are loath to complain due to the problems that in itself can create; it’s a deep seated problem that the authority has to deal with.

Private landlords are cashing in on the lack of social council housing, ripping off tenants by charging ridiculous rents and this needs to be stopped.

Yet again the housebuilding programme for affordable starter homes has been stopped by the Bank of England, as it is scared of causing a housing bubble. Who can truly afford to buy in this day and age? It’s social housing that is needed. What everyone needs to do is write to their local MP and councillor and demand a building programme of council housing. Otherwise the problems will only get worse.