LGA calls for ‘Spending Round’ to reform the Right to Buy

26 Aug 19

Westminster must reform the Right to Buy and allow councils to keep all the receipts from homes sold under the scheme, the Local Government Association has said.

The number of homes councils are able to build “continues to dwarf” the homes sold under Right to Buy, the umbrella group said.

In the last quarter of 2018-19 local authorities in England sold 2,612 homes under the Right to Buy scheme and 1,406 were started on site or acquired as part of the RTB replacement policy, according to government statistics.

Judith Blake, the LGA’s housing spokesperson, said: “The number of new councils homes being built is not able to keep pace with those sold under Right to Buy”.

The policy “continues to enable many families to achieve the dream of getting on the housing ladder and owning their own home, but it urgently needs reform”, she added.

Government figures showed councils built 2,560 homes in 2018-19 - the highest since 1992-3 when they built 2,580 homes, the LGA pointed out.

If councils were able to retain all of the receipts from RTB this would “allow them to replace the social rented homes sold, which would help avoid families being pushed into the private rented sector, reduce homeless and housing benefit and enable people to save up for their own home”.

Councils are currently able to keep a third of RTB receipts.

The Children’s Commissioner for England last week published a report saying children were living in unsuitable accommodation, including shipping containers, because local authorities did not have enough temporary accommodation.

“Something has gone very wrong with our housing system,” commissioner Anne Longfield said.  The commissioner called on the government to invest “properly” in housebuilding to reduce homelessness.


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