Housing associations were faced with a tough choice last week; for our sector it has been a decisive point in our long history.
Our independence has been integral to our ability to deliver 27,000 new homes in London over the last three years. It allows us to innovate and borrow money to fund new development.
The legislative alternative we were presented with last month would have undermined our ability to build new homes.
That’s why, after very careful consideration we believe that, compared with the alternative, the National Housing Federation proposal for a voluntary right to buy is in the best long-term interest for social housing in London.
Critically, we have a commitment from government that leaves us well-placed to deliver one-for-one replacement housing. We are confident that we can still deliver 93,000 new homes over the next ten years and we want to do much more.
To deliver these homes we need to work with local authorities. Indeed, the housing crisis can only be solved if the government, housing associations and local authorities work together. I sympathise with the concerns raised by many London boroughs and do not wish to see a loss of council housing. It is a vital resource and any loss is a loss to London as a whole.
I would also like to make it clear to local government colleagues that we have not advocated the sale of council homes to fund this policy at any point.
Today I want to make an important commitment to local government. g15 members will replace housing association homes on a one-for-one basis and our offer is to work with London boroughs to ensure no loss of social housing. I will be writing to local authority leaders to discuss the impact of the voluntary right to buy and how we can protect social housing in their boroughs.
Collectively, the g15 has a commitment to London which can be measured in centuries. It is as strong today as it has ever been.
David Montague, chief executive of L&Q and chair of g15