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Welwyn Hatfield's Housing Crisis

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Welwyn and Hatfield is at the sharp end of disastrous housing policies pushed through by its disgraced Tory MP and his government.

Under plans currently working their way through Parliament, local tax payers will lose hundreds of millions of pounds worth of publicly owned houses as the local council will be forced to sell and give the money to the government to subsidise cheap homes elsewhere in the country.

During the general election, desperate Tories promised that Housing Association tenants would be able to buy their own home at a discount. But the Tories had no idea how to pay for it and are now causing chaos to fund the plans.

Councils like Welwyn Hatfield will be required to sell off council housing in “high value areas” giving almost all of the money to the government for them to compensate housing associations for the discounts they will be forced to give their tenants.

In Welwyn Hatfield this will mean more than a quarter of our council housing will be sold off. With independent experts admitting one for one replacement of properties will be impossible, Welwyn and Hatfield will be left with housing that is more and more unaffordable to own and very little housing to rent at a rate local people can afford.

Local Tory councillors have refused to condemn the plans, instead using a recent council meeting to praise disastrous measures which have made the Tory housing crisis even worse for local people.

The government’s own figures reveal the extent of the disastrous policies pursued over the last 5 years by the Tories. In Hatfield and Welwyn, just one house has been built for every 6 homes sold under Right to Buy since 2012.

It was in the same year that Welwyn and Hatfield’s MP Grant Shapps – then in charge of the government’s housing policy said; “For the first time, every additional home that is sold will be replaced by a new affordable home on a one-for-one basis. The new homes for affordable rent will help get the nation building again, and help councils meet housing need.”

But this didn’t happen.

Instead Grant Shapps and the Tories have presided over the lowest level of house building in living memory. The last time we built this few houses, Huddersfield Town won the football league. According to housing charity shelter, the number of people facing homelessness has increased by 45% in the 5 years since 2010.

The Housing and Planning Bill is currently going through parliament. A breakdown of the government’s housing policies is below;

  • Council tenants will be forced to pay more rent or move out if they get a pay rise.

  • More than 2000 homes will be sold in Welwyn Hatfield at a cost to the local taxpayer of at least £150 million, the money will largely go to fund homes for people in other parts of the country.

  • Housing Associations will be allowed to refuse the right for some tenants to buy their home.

  • Affordable homes will be re-defined in law to include homes for sale at 80% of local rates, this will almost certainly mean the local council gives preference to homes for sale in planning applications. Meaning less truly affordable homes.

  • It is likely that the government will no longer regulate Housing Associations meaning that for tenants who can’t afford to buy, rents will go up. 

  • The government will scrap secure tenancies for all new council tenants, meaning tenants will see their tenancies reviewed every 3/5 years.

  • Housing benefit will be scrapped for young people between 18 and 21.

  • New council tenants will see a reduction in housing benefits, which will mean that the gap between housing benefit and rents increases and c could lead to more people failing to keep up with their rent payments. 

Top 20 areas most affected by the proposed sell-off

Local Authority  No of Houses Sold  % of overall stock 
Camden  11,714  49.8
Westminster 9,213 76.2
Kensington and Chelsea  6,643  97.1
Islington 6,310 24.0
Hammersmith and Fulham 6,301 50.3
Wandsworth 4,145 24.4
Southwark 3,725 9.5
Leeds 3,455 6.1
Cambridge 3,238 45.9
Epping Forest 3,063 46.6
St Albans 2,992 59.6
Dacorum 2,671 25.8
Welwyn Hatfield 2,334 25.6
Lambeth 2,305 9.4
Hackney 2,176 9.7
Warwick 1,985 35.7
Solihull 1,882 18.3
Newcastle upon Tyne 1,651 6.3
Haringey 1,540 9.8
York 1,432 18.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Shelter

Replacement rate for properties sold under RTB

Local Authority RTB Sales

RTB
Replacements
(starts)

Shortfall One home
replaced for
every X sold
Broxbourne 0 0 none sold none sold
Dacorum  267 5 262 53
East Hertfordshire 0 0 none sold none sold
Hertsmere 0 none sold none sold
North Hertfordshire 0 0 none sold none sold
St. Albans  83 4 79 21
Stevenage 236 49 187 5
Three Rivers  0  0  none sold  none sold
Watford  0  0  none sold  none sold
Welwyn Hatfield  266  45  221  6

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Data from:

Live Table 691: quarterly Right-to-buy sales, by local authority; and

Live Table 693: quarterly Right-to-buy starts on site, by local authority.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-social-housing-sales#right-to-buy-sale

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