Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe has slammed government housing policy, saying that they couldn’t have done a better job at worsening the current crisis, at a council meeting in Stamford Hill on November 24.
Pipe expressed concern over a recent proposal by the government to extend the Right to Buy policy to housing associations. This would allow up to 1.3 million housing association tenants to buy their property.
Pipe said: “If anyone wanted to make the current housing crisis even worse, the current government’s housing policies couldn’t have done a better job.” The people who can afford to buy are the most secure, the direct implication of the policy, Pipe said, is to “force the sale of council homes”.
Samir Jeraj, a journalist and co-writer of the forthcoming book The Rent Trap said that social housing “is under fundamental attack” and was concerned that “it might not be around in a couple of years”.
Regeneration projects in the borough have been met with opposition. The New Era estate in Hoxton was sold to a private American investment fund in 2014 but a vocal campaign forced them to sell to a housing charity.
Pipe said that with housing development “you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” London councils have their hands tied behind their backs, as they can’t do more than demand that a certain percentage of new housing remains “affordable”.
Affordable housing is defined at 50 per cent of market rate. Pipe argues that for many this is not affordable at all.