Leeds hit by ‘Right To Buy’ storm

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Leeds stands to be the region’s hardest-hit if the Government presses ahead with plans to extend the Right to Buy scheme.

The city council will be forced to sell off 3,455 local properties, according to new analyisys of proposals put forward under the Housing Bill.

Homeless charity Shelter has called for the scheme to be scrapped, while Coun Richard Lewis has warned move risks exacerbating the city’s existing housing crisis.

Under the Housing Bill, which requires local authorities sell off their most valuable council houses when they become vacant to fund extended discounts and build more affordable homes, some councils in the region could lose more than a quarter of their total housing stock.

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Homelessness charity Shelter estimates that in Yorkshire and the Humber, 3.6 per cent of properties are above the Government threshold – which equates to the forced sale of 8,365 homes. In Leeds, close to 3,460 homes could face forced sale – equivalent to six per cent of total council housing stock – the highest in the region.

Coun Richard Lewis, executive member for regeneration at Leeds Council, said: “Extending the Right to Buy for housing associations is bad enough.

“Forcing councils to sell even more homes really is a double whammy.”

In Leeds, the average rent for a council house is £74.38 a week The Local Housing Allowance – the maximum amount of rent the council will pay for a privately rented home- is £122.36 a week for a two-bedroom home in the city.

“We will have to pay nearly £50 over the odds for exactly the same home,” said Coun Lewis.

“The working tenant getting no housing benefit will have to pay more- pushing them further towards poverty just to have a roof over their head.

“Council and housing association properties are often the only types of homes within reach for young people in higher value areas- taking these away is, social cleansing.”

Shelter has called for the scheme to be scrapped.

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