As you know Teresa Pearce, when she was in your current post, made a commitment that Labour would press for suspension of RTB. She said that the policy “could only make sense in a time of surplus; in a time of shortage it makes no sense at all.”
Housing Minister Gavin Barwell has recently said that RTB is only “politically justifiable” if homes sold are replaced by new homes built. Since those homes sold are not being replaced then should not sales be suspended? Over the last 4 years the number of council homes in England have declined by 82,000. Only 5,520 replacement homes have been built, less than the 13,000 council homes demolished (see table below). There are only 1.61 million council homes left in England.
We would suggest that in the light of Barwell's statement, Labour should demand that the government suspends RTB sales and makes this a campaigning issue. Even the Tory majority LGA has called for councils to be allowed to suspend RTB sales when they cannot replace them.
The worsening housing crisis cannot be addressed so long as the decline in council housing stock continues. Labour should be demanding that the haemorrhaging of stock be halted. If suspension of RTB is Labour policy then it needs to be pressing the government to suspend sales now. This is a priority.
We look forward to your response.
Secretary, Swindon Tenants Campaign Group.