How the council's housing department operates
I would like to respond to the letter from R Mackman in Postbag on 22 April ( Right to buy ). The council supports the idea of buying housing on the open market. However, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration. Firstly, it
I would like to respond to the letter from R Mackman in Postbag on 22 April ('Right to buy').
The council supports the idea of buying housing on the open market. However, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration.
Firstly, it is more economical for housing associations to buy properties than it is for councils. This is because housing associations have access to grants and borrowing which local authorities do not. If a housing association buys a property the council will support and work with them so it is made available to people on the housing waiting list.
Secondly, schemes and projects are prioritised towards our residents who most need help. For example, we would support the purchasing of homes where vulnerable residents are in mortgage difficulties as a higher priority rather than buying an empty home on the open market.
Finally, the council has a number of competing priorities and we are working in difficult financial circumstances. One million pounds could allow us to buy five houses. The same million pounds could also allow us to repair many more empty properties making them available to house many more families.
This council has long lobbied the government to change the unfair housing revenue subsidy system. Currently we have to pay around �20 million a year to the Treasury out of our rental income. If we were allowed to keep this money this would allow us to increase our stock in a number of ways, including the purchase of homes.
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Divisional director of housing
Barking and Dagenham Council