Responding to a Policy Exchange report calling for councils to sell the most valuable homes in their areas, Cllr Mike Jones, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Environment and Housing Board, said:
"We desperately need more housing and councils want to play their part in building more affordable homes. Councils are also constantly looking to ensure their assets best serve the needs of the local population. Where appropriate, this can include selling properties to pay for the building of new ones.
"These are decisions that should be taken at a local level by councils who best know the value of their housing stock and the extent and type of housing needed in their area.
"While selling off expensive stock to pay for more new homes may be sensible in some parts of the country, in other areas it could risk driving out key workers and undermining councils' efforts to ensure that the demographic makeup of towns and cities is conducive to a vibrant local economy. In addition, we need to make sure people living in affordable housing can access jobs, education and other opportunities to avoid concentrations of unemployment and disadvantage.
"There are many more constructive ways for Government to go about tackling the housing crisis. Lack of liquidity in the finance market and limited availability of mortgages stagnating demand are the real hurdles to new homes being built.
"Government should also remove the restriction placed on councils' borrowing to fund new house-building schemes and should give them greater flexibility over Right-to-buy receipts to make sure that local areas can actually replace homes sold."
Author: LGA Media Office
Contact: Simon Ward, Local Government Association Media Office, Telephone 020 7664 3333
31 August 2012