Debate - Council Housing in SE1

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Wednesday 22 August 2012 9.05pm
It's time for a debate on Council or Subsidised housng in SE1:

It's paid for by the taxpayer - we all have the right to tell our local Politicians how we feel Social Housing should be allocated and priced.

Some key points and questions to get the debate started:

- Southwark Council tenants pay around 250/month. That is around a quarter of the average private rent in SE1.

- Council Tenants pay the same amount of rent regardless of whether they live next to theTate Modern with a river view, or whether they live in Peckham.

- Even if a Council tenant earns more than 100,000, they only need to pay the standard subsidised rent.

- A three bedroom Council flat near Guys Hospital is currently on the market for 400,000.

- Council Housing was originally intended for working families.

- When Bermondsey was a separate Borough, priority was given to local people or people who could prove a strong connection to the local area.

- Should Council rents more accurately reflect the market rent for the area?

- Should priority for Council Housing be given to working families?

- Should high-earners be allowed to live in Council Housing?

- Should the long-term unemployed, who have refused to accept job offers, be re-housed in lower employment areas - allowing more Council Housing for working people in SE1?

- Should priority be given to local people for Council House allocation?

- Should Council Tenants be allowed to sell their homes? Would the money be better off in the hands of the Council, so they can build more housing?
Zoe
Thursday 23 August 2012 6.37am
The average council rent is closer to 500. In my block it's around 125 a week for a one bed, slightly less for the bedsits (still less than the private sector of course, but just wanted to point it out).
Thursday 23 August 2012 6.46am
i wonder what % of tenants actually pay their rent? (as opposed to having it paid for them by housing benefit). something about this thread makes me think it could run and run...
Thursday 23 August 2012 7.15am
As Zoe points out- think council/housing asc rents are a bit more expensive than the averages on the original posting. My studio/1 bed (it's called a one bed- but the bed-room is a sort of en suite cuboard - where the bed touches both walls) is just over 100 a week plus a service charge of about 10.00 a week.
As anyone else had the letter from Southwark Council not paying or reducing council tax benefit from April 2013 esp. it would seem for single parent familys or those on low incoms? Where do they think this money is going to come from?
Thursday 23 August 2012 7.56am
I spent the first 22 years of my life living in Council houses in Walworth/Southwark. Council accommodation in those days was means tested and for people on low incomes who couldn't afford private rent or a mortgage. My mum lived in a Council flat in Essex until she died and a neighbour of hers had a big 4x4 with a small boat on a trailer parked in the street. Up to him how he spent his money I suppose, but it seemed morally wrong to me.
Thursday 23 August 2012 8.30am
- Even if a Council tenant earns more than 100,000,

Can this happen? I was under the impression council accommodation was means tested.
Thursday 23 August 2012 8.33am
We could be more like France, which pretty much officially has "nice areas" and ghettos. Quite different from the UK - inner cities are often desireable, whereas the suburbs are frequently slums. I'm unconvinced though, by the argument that the main problem facing council estates in the UK is that they have too many rich people living in them.
Thursday 23 August 2012 8.41am
By subsidised do we mean non profit making?

Spartacus,

how many answers to your question of how have the newcomers impacted on the local community does there need to be?
Thursday 23 August 2012 9.09am
Stream of consciousness thougths below - it's clearly a very complex issue. If we looked at it purely from an economic perspective, all council tenants would be pushed out of prime areas and private housing put in its place to raise money for the council. However, it's not that simply - there are very significant benefits to having mixed communities.

- Southwark Council tenants pay around 250/month. That is around a quarter of the average private rent in SE1.

Is this actually right?

- Council Tenants pay the same amount of rent regardless of whether they live next to theTate Modern with a river view, or whether they live in Peckham.

I think the question here is whether it is appropriate to have council housing in prime locations. Economically, it makes sense to sell off prime sites to re-develop for private housing and then re-locate council tenants to cheaper areas.

- Even if a Council tenant earns more than 100,000, they only need to pay the standard subsidised rent.

This is obviously crazy. If you earn more than 100,000 - or even 50,000 - you should be able to stand on your own two feet and pay to rent in the private sector. It would be interesting to know how many council tenants earn this much.

- A three bedroom Council flat near Guys Hospital is currently on the market for 400,000.

- Council Housing was originally intended for working families.

So what happens to those who genuinely cannot work?

- When Bermondsey was a separate Borough, priority was given to local people or people who could prove a strong connection to the local area.

Makes sense to me.

- Should Council rents more accurately reflect the market rent for the area?

Yes, but there is no use putting rents up if people cannot afford to pay them.

- Should priority for Council Housing be given to working families?

Yes, but query what happens to those who cannot work.

- Should high-earners be allowed to live in Council Housing?

No.

- Should the long-term unemployed, who have refused to accept job offers, be re-housed in lower employment areas - allowing more Council Housing for working people in SE1?

Sounds good in theory, not sure how it works in practice. Also, I think there is a big problem here in that the system does not favour work over long term benefits. If you take an entry level job on 15k a year, you'll actually be worse off than if you'd stayed on benefits. This is clearly nuts and we need to give incentives to people who want to get out and work who have been on benefits long term.

- Should priority be given to local people for Council House allocation?

Yes.

- Should Council Tenants be allowed to sell their homes? Would the money be better off in the hands of the Council, so they can build more housing?

Yes.

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Thursday 23 August 2012 9.28am
se1chap wrote:
- When Bermondsey was a separate Borough, priority was given to local people or people who could prove a strong connection to the local area.
Makes sense to me.

Me too in principle, but the consequence was that housing in Bermondsey Borough was essentially hereditary, and newcomers were housed elsewhere in Southwark.

By accident or design, that led to Southwark becoming to all intents and purposes racially segregated, something that's only relatively recently started to break down.

I don't think that's particularly healthy.
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