Haringey Liberal Democrats have announced a new flagship policy to deliver council and affordable housing if elected in the local elections on 3rd May 2018.
The proposal would see a 100% council-owned housing company created to invest an initial £148m into building new council and affordable homes, without handing over any public assets to a third party. The council-run company would encourage investment and development in the borough, and give housing priority to Haringey residents rather than to the highest bidder.
The plan involves putting an end to the Labour-run council’s divisive HDV policy, which would see council homes demolished and £2billion worth of council assets gambled in a deal with a private developer. Funds for the Lib Dem policy would also be diverted from Labour's plan to build a new £33million Council HQ.
The Lib Dems have also pledged that any profits generated by the council-owned company will be reinvested to improve existing homes and build more homes in Haringey, and that, unlike Labour's HDV scheme, no existing residents or businesses would be forced out from their current homes or premises.
This model has already been trialled successfully across the country, including by Liberal Democrat-run Sutton Council, and has been reported on by the Smith Institute, who found that Local Housing Companies “offer councils a “triple dividend” in the form of much needed extra housing, a greater stewardship role in place-shaping and a financial return to the council.”
On the plans, Haringey Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Cllr Liz Morris said:
“We’re excited to announce our plan to invest an identified £148million in building new council and affordable housing. The Labour-run council believes the only way to deliver housing in Haringey is to enter into a risky and controversial joint venture with a private developer.
“Our plan would deliver desperately needed Council-owned homes compared to Labour's HDV plan that would rip the heart out of local communities, fail to protect current residents and prioritises private gain over local housing need.
“We want better housing for local people with businesses supported to flourish. We will do this with development taking place at a local level, keeping it 100% council-owned, and taking the community with us. We believe it’s time to build more council housing as well as homes that are truly affordable.”
The policy is a key pledge that will be part of a wider manifesto by the Liberal Democrats to build a better Haringey.