Suspend right to buy urges industry, as new figures reveal its impact
Figures released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show that from July to September 2018 local authorities in England sold 2,417 homes under the right to buy scheme, with 1,160 homes started or acquired to replace them during the same period.
Since right to buy discounts were increased in April 2012, 72,929 homes have been sold, while just 20,746 have been started or acquired to replace them
Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) chief executive Terrie Alafat CBE said “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. Our research shows that we lost more than 150,000 social rented homes between 2012 and 2017 due to right to buy and other factors, and that figure will reach 230,000 by 2020 unless we take action now.”
According to CIH analysis, right to buy is costing councils £300 million a year. Cutting the discounts available by a third could lead to an extra 12,000 homes being built a year, CIH has calculated. But the organisation says right to buy should be suspended altogether to stem the loss of social rented homes.
Terrie Alafat continues: “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. And 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.”