England: New figures ‘reinforce need to suspend Right to Buy’

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has repeated its call for the UK Government to suspend its Right to Buy policy after new figures revealed less than a third of homes sold since 2012 have been replaced.

Figures released yesterday by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show that from July to September 2018, local authorities sold 2,417 homes under the Right to Buy scheme, with 1,160 homes started or acquired to replace them during the same period.

England: New figures ‘reinforce need to suspend Right to Buy’

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.

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.”

CIH analysis has shown that 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 added: “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.”

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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