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Right to Buy worsens housing crisis

New council houses imageThe Government’s commitment to build a replacement for every social rented home sold through the Right to Buy scheme is not being fulfilled, new figures show.

The latest published data from the DCLG reveal that almost 50,000 council owned properties have been acquired by tenants in the UK since the Government’s Right to Buy programme was relaunched in 2012, but the Government is failing to meet a pledge for a one for one replacement of homes sold off from under the scheme.

Local authorities in England have replaced just one in 10 of the homes sold through Right to Buy since discounts were increase four years ago. Official figures reveal that there have been 49,573 sales since the scheme was reinvigorated, but only 4,594 homes have been started onsite or acquired by councils.

An estimated 3,250 homes were acquired by tenants in Q4 2015, up from the 2,941 during the previous quarter, while only 396 homes were started onsite or acquired by local authorities during the same three-month period.

Council tenants can currently get discounts of up to £77,900, rising to £103,900 in London, under the existing Right o Buy initiative.

More than 2 million council homes have been purchased by tenants since the original Right to Buy scheme was introduced under Margaret Thatcher’s Government in the early 1980s.

John Healey, Shadow Housing Minister, imageJohn Healey (left), the Shadow Housing Minister, believes that the Government has “failed” to tackle the housing crisis and is only making matters worse by reducing the availability of much needed affordable homes to rent and buy.

In a recent article written exclusively for The Negotiator magazine, Mr Healey wrote, “The forced sell-off of council homes to fund Right to Buy discounts for housing associations will mean affordable homes currently set aside for local people will be sold on to speculators and buy-to-let landlords, with no prospect or plan for replacement like for like in the areas they are lost.

“While housing associations may build more homes as they sell under Right to Buy, many will increasingly build for open market sale and rent. Indeed, a third of them now say they will no longer build any affordable homes.”

However, the Government has defended its housing record.

Brandon Lewis imageThe Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis (right), said, “We are determined that anyone who aspires to own their own home should have the opportunity to do so. These figures show people are still very keen to take up their Right to Buy and why we are now extending that opportunity to housing association tenants.

“Britain is building again and homes are being delivered following the sale of properties. Alongside this a thousand tenants are registering each week to join those who have already realised their dream to own their home.”

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