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Clash over coucil house sale

PUBLISHED: 15:56 14 July 2010 | UPDATED: 11:48 23 August 2010

COUNCILLORS have clashed over the sale of two social houses, as Labour members accuse the Conservatives of selling the family silver . Deputy leader of Gravesham Borough Council s Labour Party, Lee Croxton, has launched a scathing attack after news counc

COUNCILLORS have clashed over the sale of two social houses, as Labour members accuse the Conservatives of "selling the family silver".

Deputy leader of Gravesham Borough Council's Labour Party, Lee Croxton, has launched a scathing attack after news council homes on Elm Road and Newmans Road would be auctioned on July 26.

He said: "The Tories have declared these houses 'surplus to requirement'.

"At a time when we have over 2,000 people on the waiting list how on earth can it be possible to have any surplus houses?

"There is a serious shortage of family houses to rent, so it is utterly disgraceful for the Tories to flog off the very type of houses that families are crying out for."

Cabinet member for housing Anthony Pritchard moved quickly to counter this.

He said: "Firstly I would point out that it has been the Labour Government's Negative Subsidy System that has all but crippled the housing finances over recent years, a Labour tax on council tenants.

"When compared with the dozens of houses sold under the previous Labour administration, these two provide a very small comparison."

Negative Subsidy sees central government collect a percentage of all the money received by local authorities from council rent.

In Gravesham this amounts to about £6 million a year, which is redistributed to areas of the country that most need it.

Cllr Pritchard stated the two homes up for sale were "substantially beyond repair at reasonable cost," and only good for creating money so others can be repaired.

He added: "As for the heading or accusation that we are 'selling off the family silver', I find that a bit rich coming from a member of the previous Labour cabinet, that had numerous examples of just giving it away. I can't help thinking he is doing a bit of electioneering here.

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