Sheffield in social housing ‘crisis’

Councillor Harry Harpham on the new housing development at Parson Cross'Picture by Dean Atkins
Councillor Harry Harpham on the new housing development at Parson Cross'Picture by Dean Atkins
  • Sheffield Council sold off 672 council homes between 2009 and 2014, according to a new Government report
  • Number of council homes sold to tenants increased by 235 per cent in five years
  • Just 27 council homes delivered in 2008 to 2011
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Council chiefs in Sheffield claim the Government has created a housing crisis in the city – after figures showed the number of council homes sold to tenants increased by 235 per cent in five years.

Sheffield Council sold off 672 council homes between 2009 and 2014, according to a new Government report – even though 8,000 people are bidding for council houses in Sheffield every year and more than 500 people had to be urgently housed in the last 10 months due to homelessness.

The scheme isn’t helping, in fact it’s making the situation worse in Sheffield.

Coun Harry Harpham, Sheffield Council cabinet member for housing

Today Coun Harry Harpham, Sheffield Council cabinet member for housing, slammed the Government for allowing tenants to buy homes – but not giving councils enough money to replace them, leading to a shortage of social housing.

He said: “There is a housing crisis across the country and that is reflected in Sheffield.

“The problem we have is we are obliged to sell off, but we don’t get the money to buy new council houses.

“What we would like and what we have been asking for is that if we are obliged to sell, for example, a three-bedroom council house, then we are able to replace on a like-for-like basis.

“However, the government don’t allow us to do that.

“At the moment, we have to sell them off cheap. It’s a tenant’s right to buy them and we can’t say no.

“But the scheme isn’t helping, in fact it’s making the situation worse in Sheffield.”

The council had a housing stock of more than 80,000 in 1979, but has seen more than 31,000 homes snapped up by tenants since the scheme began, including 255 last year, up from just 76 in 2009-10.

However, the amount of council homes built has not kept up, with just 27 delivered in 2008 to 2011.

A council spokesman said: “We are committed to providing 1,000 new or replacement council homes by 2019/20.”

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Thanks to this government’s long-term economic plan, we have created over 33,000 homeowners through the Right to Buy, which is expected to generate £2.4 billion of additional investment in new affordable housing. It also means that families who have worked hard, paid their rent and played by the rules have the opportunity to own their home.

“In addition twice as much council housing has been built under this government than in all 13 years of the last administration combined, when just one council home was built for every 170 Right to Buy sales.”

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