Birmingham council house crisis deepens

Cllr Tahir Ali

As right to buy properties are not replaced, Birmingham reveals that it sells more than twice the number of council houses it constructs …reports Asian Lite News

Cllr Tahir Ali
Cllr Tahir Ali

Birmingham is selling more than twice as many council houses as it currently builds, new figures have revealed.

The total council housing stock in the city has fallen from 64,315 in 2013 to 62,843 following Government changes to the right to buy discount – because so few new council properties are being built, reports Birmingham Mail.

Over the last four years Birmingham tenants have scooped up 1,798 council properties at discounted rates, over the same period just 971 have been built – most under the city’s flagship Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust (BMHT) scheme. A further 976 have been demolished – either because they are unsafe, out of date or too costly to repair.

It means that the total stock of council homes is dramatically falling, leaving fewer housing options for those on low incomes, adds Birmingham Mail report.

Charity for the homeless Shelter are now warning that some areas will be left with no affordable homes. Chief executive Campbell Robb warned: “At this rate they’ll soon be black-spots across the country where no-one on a normal income can afford to live,” says the Birmingham Mail report.

Birmingham’s Labour cabinet member for development Tahir Ali said that ‘right to buy has caused great difficulties for many local authorities up and down the country’.

He said that despite being the largest housing developer in the West Midland

s the new homes delivered by BMHT are still not able to keep up with council house sales.

“This government has a habit of making piecemeal headline grabbing announcements on housing, such as extending right to buy to housing associations, without considering the consequences,”

He told Birmingham Mail.

The Local Government Association is calling for councils to be allowed to fully re-invest money raised from right to buy sales in new council housing and for councils to set their own discount rates to reflect property prices in their area.