Tag Archives: NewShare

Whose home is it anyway?

8 Jul

Back in 2014 the council announced NewShare – an “exciting new Shared Equity scheme that offers potential home owners, who are currently frozen out of the London housing market, a helping hand onto the property ladder.”

The plan was to offer 1,220 homes for sale, in three categories: “new homes built by the council, street properties acquired by the council and empty council properties.”

According to the marketing guff

All homes available have undergone a comprehensive and high standard refurbishment to ensure that they are ready to move in to. The refurbishment includes refitted kitchens, with brand new appliances, refitted bathrooms, new carpets and redecoration in a neutral colour scheme throughout.

Despite the obvious objection that selling off council houses was a strange way to deal with a shortage of affordable homes in the borough, Labour councillors voted the scheme through.

They believed Sir Robin when he said that helping residents into home ownership would “…encourage them to settle in the borough and really get involved in the life of the community.”

Now that the scheme has launched a number of them are surprised to find that the earnings ceiling has been set at a whopping £90,000 per annum. That’s more than three times the average household income for the borough. Even with house prices at their current ludicrous levels it’s hard to describe anyone earning that much as “frozen out of the market.” 

So, two years on, how’s it going?

According to a recent Freedom of Information request a total of 70 homes have been sold through the scheme so far.

And one of them was sold to a member of the council.

The councillor was not named in the FOI response, but a quick check on the register of interests reveals the lucky man to be Cllr Forhad Hussain, cabinet member for Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour and Deputy Cabinet Member for Building Communities. One of the mayor’s most trusted lieutenants.

He ran for council in 2006 on the Respect ticket and was elected for Labour in 2010. He’s been in the cabinet since 2012. So you’d think he was already pretty well settled in the borough and “involved in the life of the community.” And being the recipient of close to £45,000 a year in allowances should be encouragement enough to stay.

The comprehensively refurbished home Cllr Hussain now owns was previously an empty Council property.