City Council to consider impact of local housing changes

Press Release: 03/11/2015

Update 10 November 2015: Winchester City Council has agreed that the potential impact of the Government Welfare and Housing Bill proposals on the City Council’s housing service be noted and the action taken by the Portfolio Holder for Housing and officers in response to the notices of motion tabled at Council in July be supported.


The Council has also agreed that the response received from the Minister of State for Housing and Planning – and the latest information about the Bill – does not provide the reassurance needed about the impact of the Housing Bill for Winchester tenants and delivery of the Council’s Housing Business Plan.


Cllr Caroline Horrill, the Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “Some of the changes, in particular cheaper rents for our residents, should be welcomed. We are still waiting on the details behind other changes and it is too early to say how they may impact on housing in Winchester. I remain absolutely committed to investing in new Council homes, maintaining existing homes to the Decent Homes standard and continuing our efforts to ensure residents of the District are proud of their homes.”


Cllr Jamie Scott, the Shadow Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “As Shadow Portfolio Holder for Housing, the last thing I want to see is the Council being forced into selling our most valuable council houses to subsidise the right-to-buy of housing association properties in other parts of the country. Our tenants will lose out because we will have less money to spend on repairs.”

ENDS

The impact on local housing of recent Government announcements will be considered by Winchester City Council at its meeting on Wednesday 4 November.

Changes include:

  • Giving housing association tenants the same Right to Buy their homes that City Council tenants have enjoyed for many years
  • Reducing all social housing tenants’ rents by 1%
  • Selling ‘high value’ council homes to help fund the Right to Buy scheme and the building of more homes


In response to concerns raised by some councillors, the Council is now working with local MPs and housing associations as well as the Local Government Association to make sure that any adverse impact of the changes locally are minimised.

The Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, Cllr Caroline Horrill, said:

Some of the changes, in particular cheaper rents for our residents, should be welcomed. We are still waiting on the details behind other changes and it is too early to say how they may impact on housing in Winchester. I remain absolutely committed to investing in new Council homes, maintaining existing homes to the Decent Homes standard and continuing our efforts to ensure residents of the District are proud of their homes.