Right to Buy ‘under threat’ as cash-strapped councils struggle to replace homes
The long-standing housing scheme Right to Buy could collapse as cash-strapped councils struggle to replace homes, a new study has warned.
According to the Local Government Association, local authorities only have enough money to replace one-third of the houses they have sold over the past six years.
The organisation found that although councils had sold 60,000 properties since 2012 they could only afford to build 14,000 new homes in their place.
The LGA warned that unless the iconic scheme – introduced under Margaret Thatcher – undergoes “significant” restructuring it faces collapse.
The body urged the Government to allow local authorities to keep 100% of receipts from the properties they sell, rather than being forced to hand them over a chunk to the Treasury.
The move could spark a “renaissance in housebuilding", the LGA’s housing spokesman, Martin Tett said.
He added: “We know that the right to buy changes lives – it helps people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get on the ladder experience the security and independence of home ownership. It is essential that it continues to do so.
“Councils urgently need funding to support the replacement of homes sold off under the scheme, or there’s a real chance they could be all but eliminated.
“Without a pipeline of new homes, future generations cannot benefit from the scheme.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing aid: “We will be consulting local authorities in the coming months on ways to increase their flexibility to replace homes sold, and will announce further details in due course.”
The House Builders Association (HBA) – the housing division of the National Federation of Builders (NFB) – agrees with the LGA’s appeal to enable local authorities to spend all of the money generated by the sale of properties under Right to Buy saying that such a move would help diversify both the supply and type of housing. Read their full response here.