South Tyneside Council bosses face having to sell off houses – leaving thousands on waiting list

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Council bosses in South Tyneside face having to sell off more than 200 local authority homes while more than 5,500 people languish on the waiting list.

South Tyneside Council could have to sell 207 houses under a proposed government scheme, claims homeless charity Shelter.

Coun Allan West.

Coun Allan West.

A Government proposal would force council homes worth more than a set threshold to be sold once they become vacant.

The plan comes at a time when the council is looking to build affordable new properties, with 5,518 on a waiting list, for one of the council’s 17,611 properties in the borough.

Coun Allan West, the council’s lead member for housing and transport, said: “With more than 5,500 people on our waiting list, we need to provide more homes.

“However, the government’s proposals would reduce the supply of affordable homes to meet housing needs in the short term.

The government’s proposals would reduce the supply of affordable homes to meet housing needs in the short-term.

Coun Allan West

“We are committed to building new, quality affordable homes to meet housing needs across South Tyneside.

“This proposal would also reduce local control and responsibility over quality and rent, with many properties expected to end up in the private rented sector.

“We believe that providing the right homes at the right price in the right place is essential to address housing shortage and creating sustainable communities across the borough.”

The money gained from the sale of homes would be used to fund discounts of up to £100,000 for housing association tenants taking up the Right to Buy.

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said: “At a time when millions of families are struggling to find somewhere affordable to live, plans to sell off large swathes of the few genuinely affordable homes we have left is only going to make things worse.

“More and more families with barely a hope of ever affording a home of their own and who no longer have the option of social housing, will be forced into unstable and expensive private renting.

“The government needs to scrap this proposal and start helping the millions of ordinary families struggling with sky high housing costs.

“If Chancellor George Osborne is serious about turning around the housing crisis, the autumn spending review is his last chance to invest in the genuinely affordable homes this country desperately needs.”

To make its estimations, Shelter looked at the profile of the council housing stock in each local authority, as well as the turnover of council housing stock.