Letter: Good news at the top, but house prices remain low

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The Independent Online
Sir: I was taken aback by your inference in your leading article on 6 June that when the government decided to encourage people to own their own houses a decade ago or so, it was under a duty to educate prospective owners of council homes of the cost of maintaining their acquisitions.

Your leading article continued by suggesting that the Government should 'not evade its broader responsibilities for housing stock' and implied, therefore, that public funding should be made available to help to meet the cost of repairs, maintenance and renewal.

The Housing Corporation, of which I am a non-executive director, although writing to you in a personal capacity, is the main provider of funding for social housing - for those in need and who are unable to participate in the opportunities which the private sector has to offer.

Through the Housing Corporation, government has made available some pounds 6bn over the last three years to housing associations, which are regulated by the corporation. Under the watchful eye of the corporation, housing associations set aside a not insignificant part of their income and funding to meet maintenance and repair programmes (which form part of the Tenant's Charter).

No one has ever compelled an individual to buy a house in the private sector. No one compelled tenants of council-owned property a decade ago to purchase their homes, let alone at a substantial discount to the market price. Those who made that decision have to take aboard the consequence of their own decision and carry the responsibility that runs with it.

Yours faithfully,

DAVID G. KLEEMAN

London, WC2

8 June

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