14 Apr 2015 - 15:23
By Alan Jones, Press Association Industrial Correspondent
Page 1: 15:23Private landlords could end up making huge amounts of money from the Conservatives' plan to grant 1.3 million housing association tenants the right to buy their homes, a leading union has warned.
A study by the GMB found that two out of five council houses sold in Wandsworth, SW London in the 1980s, are now owned by private landlords, who rent them to tenants.
There are almost 1,000 private landlords in the borough, owning the 6,800 council houses sold under the flagship policy of Margaret Thatcher, according to the research.
One private landlord owns over 90 houses, while a further 15 own at least 10, said the GMB.
A similar picture was found in other parts of the country, especially across Southern England, said the report.
The GMB warned that private landlords will reap a similar "rich harvest" from the new policy of the Conservatives.
General Secretary Paul Kenny said: "Our investigation in Wandsworth has laid bare the harsh reality of the exploitation of our social housing stock. Exactly the same will happen now that the Tories have opened the door to buy-to-let landlords on housing association properties.
"In Wandsworth and elsewhere private businesses are making vast profits from the public purse while the people these homes were built for sit on waiting lists that never move. To add insult to injury many are using offshore tax havens to avoid paying tax on these profits.
"These homes were built and designed to be rented by ordinary London families. The investigation exposes Mrs Thatcher's flagship policy of 'right to buy' for individuals as nothing more than a charter for the exploitation of our social housing for private profit. Her plan to create a home owning democracy has turned into a 'buy to let' bonanza."