Herts County Council to Charge more than double for a council house

June 22, 2021 4:18 PM
Originally published by Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats

Herts County Conservatives voted at a recent meeting to charge double the amount they require for providing education if a home is built as a council house compared to one for sale on the open market.

At the Growth, Infrastructure and Planning Panel on Tuesday 22nd June, a proposal to change the 'planning obligations' required from housebuilders was tabled. Part of that proposal was to charge more than double for any home built as a council house compared to one expecting to be sold on the open market. A 3 bed house for market would expect to see an education provision payment of £17,719, whereas if it was a council house, the County would expect £34,630.

The justification presented was that council house tenants have more kids, therefore the county needs more money to provide their education.

County Cllr Paul Zukowskyj, lead spokesman for Growth for the Lib Dem official opposition, commented "This approach is not only fundamentally flawed, I find it pretty offensive too. It will penalise, and potentially stop, Local Authorities trying to build council houses, by simply pricing them too highly. It also assumes councils would not buy homes on the open market, effectively changing their tenure after the obligation has been agreed and paid. Welwyn Hatfield, and I'm sure other authorities, are actively purchasing property on the open market for social rent, meaning the County would be short-changed for education, if you believe their figures.

"Other sections of the document simply use bed size. Other comments from the county suggest adjustment for specific locations, so 'urban - high density' would be different from 'rural - low density' and this seems eminently sensible and not changeable. Use of tenure as proposed isn't sensible and is subject to change. Tenure should simply not be used; it demonises council tenants and that just isn't on."