Right to Buy stats reinforce a ‘need to suspend the scheme’

Stats show councils sold 2,417 RTB homes over July-September, with 1,160 homes started or acquired to replace them.

For Sale and To Rent Signs estate agent boards

CIH says latest MHCLG stats showing councils sold 2,417 homes under the Right to Buy scheme over the July-September quarter reinforce a need to suspend the scheme.

The stats released today (19th Dec) also show 1,160 homes started or acquired to replace those sold over the same period.

The 2,417 is 22% down on the 3,115 sold in the same quarter of 2017-18, while councils received some £205m from the sales – 17% lower than the £247m in the same quarter of 2017-18.

An MHCLG spokesperson said the stats showed councils have started work on 5,167 properties in the last year, which is up by 12 per cent on the year before.

“We have recently removed the cap on council borrowing for house building so that councils can build more homes.

“We have also consulted on ways to make it easier for councils to spend the receipts from Right to Buy sales on new homes, and will respond in due course,” he said.

Overall, since RTB discounts were increased in April 2012, 72,929 homes have been sold, while just 20,746 have been started or acquired to replace them.

“Not only are we failing to build enough homes for social rent – Right to Buy means we are losing them at a time when millions of people need genuinely affordable housing more than ever,” said CIH chief executive Terrie Alafat CBE.

Alafat cited the CIH’s own research showing a loss of more than 150,000 social rented homes between 2012 and 2017 due to RTB and other factors.

“And that figure will reach 230,000 by 2020 unless we take action now,” said Alafat.

Further CIH analysis shows RTB costs councils an annual £300m, while cutting the discounts available by a third could lead to an extra 12,000 homes being built a year.

But the organisation has called for RTB to be suspended altogether to stem the loss of social rented homes.

“We support the principle of helping tenants move into home ownership if that’s what they want, but it cannot be at the expense of other people in need,” Alafat said.

“We know that the government is consulting on ways to make it easier for councils to replace the homes they sell under right to buy, which is welcome.

“But we still believe ministers should suspend the scheme to stem the loss of social rented homes, remove the barriers stopping councils from replacing homes sold and look at more effective ways to help people access home ownership,” she said.

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