Council out to sell off more homes

EFFORTS are being made to increase the number of council houses bought by tenants following a dramatic drop in sales.

Nearly 1,000 council homes were bought by their tenants in 2003, but that figure dropped to just 30 last financial year.

Now, cabinet members at North Tyneside Council have agreed to look into joining a government scheme aiming to increase the number of sales and encourage the building of new council houses.

The authority’s cabinet member for housing, Paul Mason, of Monkseaton North, said: “Every authority has seen a fall in the right-to-buy sales.”

The government scheme aims to allow councils to retain any net receipts from right-to-buy sales and spend them on the provision of new affordable homes.

The government announced plans in November to increase the caps on right-to-buy discounts to enable more tenants to achieve their ambition and get on the property ladder.

Deputy mayor Coun Judith Wallace, of the St Mary’s ward in Whitley Bay, said: “I think by entering the agreement it will give us better opportunities. It would be folly not to do this.”

Mayor Linda Arkley added: “It would be the best way forward.”

Cabinet members agreed to enter into discussions about signing up to the new agreement with the government.