England: CIH calls for Right to Buy suspension as sales continue to outstrip replacements

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has urged the UK government to suspend its Right to Buy policy as new figures revealed that the sale of homes under the scheme continue to outstrip replacement properties.

Figures released yesterday by the ministry of housing, communities and local government have revealed that 11,465 homes were sold by councils in England under the Right to Buy scheme in 2017/18, while only 4,944 were started or acquired to replace them using the receipts.

Since Right to Buy discounts were increased in April 2012, 66,647 homes have been sold, while only 17,911 have been started or acquired to replace them.

CIH chief executive Terrie Alafat said: “It cannot be right that not only are we not building enough homes for social rent, we are losing them at a time when we need them more than ever. Our analysis shows that we have 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.

“We support the principle of helping tenants move into home ownership but it cannot be at the expense of other people in need. We need to look at fairer ways to help tenants into home ownership, because this is clearly not the way to do it.

“We are calling on the government to suspend the right to buy to stem the loss of social rented homes, remove the barriers stopping councils from replacing homes sold under the scheme and look at more effective ways to help people access home ownership.”

Right to Buy for all council and housing association tenants ended in Scotland on 31 July 2016, though Scotland gave tenants two years after Royal Assent to exercise their right. The policy will be formally abolished in Wales in January 2019.

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