Merton' Labour administration has released details of their proposal to set up a housing development company, which will be discussed Wednesday's Council meeting.
Despite the desperate need for cheaper housing in the borough, and Merton's stated 40% target for affordable housing, the Council are not proposing to meet their own target with their own housing company. Merton’s social housing stock is already amongst the lowest in London at around 14% of all homes in the borough and there are nearly 9,000 households currently on the housing waiting list.
Instead, the proposals for the first 4 development sites list only 26% of them will be affordable. This is because Merton Council are trying to maximise income, and so are proposing to lend money to the housing company at 3-4.5% more than their own borrowing costs – making the Council a profit but cutting the new company’s ability to build affordable homes.
Lib Dem Housing campaigner Carl Quilliam said:
“We have no problem with the Council taking some revenue from the housing company in the future, but they should be putting their commitment to affordable housing first.
“After all, if Merton Council cannot meet the 40% target or even the Mayor’s lower 35% target with their own developments, how will they have any credibility asking commercial developers to meet it?
“If the Council are dropping their 40% affordable homes target, Labour bosses should be open in saying so. But if Labour aren’t opposing the Tories nationally and aren’t delivering on things like affordable housing and social care locally, what are they for?”