Councillor Kevin Price, the Labour-run City Council’s Housing Chief, has said that the Tory plans to extend Right to Buy to housing associations may mean the loss of more than two-thirds of council homes in Cambridge.

Councillor Price said: “The Tories plan to pay for this by forcing councils to sell off their own stock but have clearly not looked at the impact in high priced areas like Cambridge. Cambridge’s housing crisis has meant that even the value of council homes has gone up faster than comparative houses in other parts of the region. The Tories are proposing that any home above a set regional value will have to be sold when it is re-let.

“We estimate that this policy would mean up to 70% of our council general stock would have to be sold rather than re-let to families on our waiting lists. These are normal council houses, flats and bungalows in areas like Kings Hedges, Abbey and East Chesterton not large mansions in well off suburbs. That’s around 4500 homes lost for ever to the council, including most of our 2, 3 and 4 bedroom homes at a rate of about 250 homes forced onto the market every year. We also know that if sold on the open market a high number of these will simply end up as buy to let with higher rents and insecure tenancies.

“This is nothing short of a disaster for Cambridge and a disaster for our waiting lists. It will be impossible to replace the number of council homes lost in the city itself which will mean low income families are forced to move away from Cambridge. Combined with the impact that increasing the Right to Buy discount for council tenants in April 2012 has already had on our stock, the City Council will struggle to continue at all as a social landlord. Housing associations have already threatened legal action and if this Tory policy is actually implemented we will have no choice ourselves but to fight it in the courts to protect the interests of the council and our residents.”

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