Southwark Liberal Democrats have launched a new drive to stop family-sized council homes being sold off in the borough, following news that another five bedroom family home in Bermondsey is being put on the market by the Labour-run council.
The two-storey terraced house at 8 Longley Street, off Southwark Park Road, is set to be the 936th council home lost under Southwark’s Labour administration since 2010.
Liberal Democrat councillors in South Bermondsey ward (pictured) have hit out at the council’s Labour bosses, saying there are "dozens of overcrowded families" in the area who would "jump at the chance" to live in a larger property. They say they will now campaign to stop the sale, and have already gained support from neighbours on Longley Street.
Southwark Liberal Democrats have committed to stopping Southwark’s housing sell-off if they win control of the council in May’s local elections.
Currently the council seeks to offload properties worth over £300,000 when they become vacant – a policy put in place by Labour councillors in 2011 to try to dispose of more properties and bring in extra cash.
Labour claim to use the revenue from housing sales to build new properties elsewhere – however to date they have sold or demolished 935 homes in the borough – receiving over £56 million in sales receipts – but built only 33 new ones to replace them.
The sale of high value properties is separate to the Government’s ‘right to buy’ programme, which council’s have limited control over. Instead the decision to sell council homes when they become empty is taken by the council.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat councillor for South Bermondsey Cllr Graham Neale said:
"Every week we get local people coming to our advice surgery asking about overcrowding. Many are desperate to move into a bigger home, but instead Labour council bosses prefer to sell them off and take the cash."
"The number of council homes being built has fallen massively under Labour. If Southwark Liberal Democrats are elected to run the council in May, we will stop Labour’s mass sell-off of council homes and start building new ones."
South Bermondsey ward Liberal Democrat colleague Cllr Michael Bukola added:
"It’s not even like the money is being used to build new homes. This is a slap in the face for those families in need of an affordable home."