Hackney Council has agreed to set up a private housing company to get around government restrictions and provide homes for London Living Rent in a policy that bears a striking resemblance to Liberal Democrat proposals from 2014.
Hackney Lib Dem Vice Chair Simon de Denney has welcomed the new policy but says Labour's version needs to go much further.
The company will use a council loan to buy homes built through council regeneration schemes which are up for shared ownership or outright sale, the homes can then be rented out at the London Living Rent.
In 2014, the Hackney Lib Dems proposed a similar type of scheme that had been successful in other parts of London but were told by the now Mayor, Phillip Glanville, that the plans were not possible.
The Lib Dems have welcomed the Mayor's change of heart, but say the council should use the contractor to directly build homes as other local authorities have done, and they should be proper council homes and not 'affordable' or London Living Rent that many people in Hackney can never afford.
Hackney Lib Dem Vice Chair, Simon de Denney
Hackney Lib Dem Vice Chair, Simon de Denney, who proposed the scheme in 2014 said:
“We very much welcome Labour converting to one of our policy proposals that we have been passionate about for a long time, especially as they have done nothing for decades whilst people have been forced out and communities broken up because they can no longer afford to live in the borough.
“ I am a little surprised by the announcement as in a debate in 2014 with the now Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, we proposed this very idea that has worked so well in other parts of London. Philip was adamant then that it could not be done so we welcome the change of heart. However, Labour’s proposal needs to go further and is missing some of the key elements that we put forward.
“We proposed building proper council homes and not just ‘affordable’ or London Living Rent ones, as we know that many people in Hackney cannot afford the London Living Rent rates. We also wanted to put communities at the heart of the planning process so that it wasn’t just a question of building new homes but making sure everyone felt part of the process and were included in decision-making.
"So we hope that Mayor Glanville will have yet another change of heart and implement the scheme that will build the Council homes Hackney needs."