Letter: The cavaliers of Westminster

Share
Related Topics
YOU DID a great service in highlighting the resignation of Alan Duncan from his Parliamentary Private Secretary job ('Right winger with fatal Midas touch', 9 January), especially in the light of more recent disclosures regarding the cavalier way in which Westminster City Council has been discharging its other duties as a local authority.

However, for those uninformed about local government housing finance, can I make the following further points?

First, Mr Duncan claims that the house was in a dilapidated state, and was subsiding. But the owners at that time, Westminster council, was being paraded by the Government as a most efficient local authority, and it was surely that council's responsibility to ensure that the house was fit for habitation.

Second, although several local authorities had adopted a policy of 'right to buy' in advance of government legislation, they had a certain amount of discretion regarding the amount of discount which was made available to intending purchasers.

When 'right to buy' was made compulsory for local authorities, the amount of discount was determined by a formula which used length of tenancy as a main factor. The size of such discount (currently up to 70 per cent) is a loss and is borne by the 'Housing Revenue Account', in other words, by those tenants who have chosen not to exercise their 'right' and continue to pay rent.

The discount is accompanied by another 'right' - that of a mortgage from the local authority, but which only applies to purchasers who can demonstrate their ability to service such a mortgage.

Unfortunately, tenants in receipt of housing benefit are deemed to be incapable of discharging such liability, and thus forfeit their 'right to buy'. When I was chair of our council's housing committee (1984- 88), we discovered that this 'right to buy' applied only to about 27 per cent of our tenants, since the other 73 per cent were on housing benefit . . . some right]

I hope Mr Duncan's 'tenant' lives to be 150 (with rent free occupancy, of course).

Mick Williams

Penkhull

Stoke-on-Trent

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
More From
From MICK WILLIAMS
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Read Next
'Our media are suffering a new experience: not fear of being called anti-Semitic'  

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk
David Cameron (pictured) can't steal back my party's vote that easily, says Nigel Farage  

Cameron’s benefits pledge is designed to lure back Ukip voters. He’ll have to try harder

Nigel Farage
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain