The end of council housing

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Whichever party wins the General Election, all the remaining 4.5 million council houses will be sold off. The Tories talk of a ‘private sector solution’ whilst Labour prefers private-public ‘partnerships’, but the end is the same: £58 billion worth of council stock will end up in private hands, much of it given away. The new private companies will raise money for the estimated £20 billion backlog of repairs by using the housing stock as a collateral. The effect will be to send rents soaring. One study has shown that where housing associations have refurbished council houses, rents were between 25 and 75 higher than equivalent, modernised local authority homes. Labour’s Sandwell Council is taking the lead in this and will privatise its 8,500 houses by next year. Rent increases will be 5 per cent higher than the rate of inflation in the first five years. This is a foretaste of what is to come.



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